LA UPDATE 29th NOVEMBER

1.Information for all education and childcare settings on new measures in response to the identification of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the UK

On Saturday 27 November, the Prime Minister announced new temporary measures following the emergence of the    Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the UK.

The new measures will be introduced as a precaution to slow down the spread of the variant while we gather more information. We will continue to keep this under review as the situation develops.

2.Face coverings

Face coverings should be worn in communal areas in all settings by staff, visitors and pupils or students in year 7 and above, unless they are exempt.

Pupils or students (in year 7 or above) should continue to wear face coverings on public and dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt.

3.Testing

All educational and childcare settings should continue to encourage staff and students to test twice weekly using lateral flow  device (LFD) tests.

4.Contact tracing and isolation

The current guidance on contact tracing and isolation remains in place. In addition to these, any suspected or confirmed close contacts of the Omicron variant will be asked to isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status or age. You will be contacted directly and told to isolate.

5.Vaccination

All eligible staff and students aged 12 and over are encouraged to take up the offer of the vaccine, including boosters.

Vaccines are our best defence against COVID-19. They help protect young people and adults, and benefit those around them. Vaccination makes people less likely to catch the virus and less likely to pass it on.

To book a vaccination, please visit: Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk).

6.Changes to the red list for international travel to England

Individuals arriving in England from red list countries must follow the red list rules.

South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe moved onto the red list at 12pm Friday 26 November.

Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia were added to the red list 4am Sunday 28 November.

Schools, out of school settings and colleges will want to consider whether to go ahead with planned international educational  visits at this time, recognising the risk of disruption to education resulting from the need to isolate and test on arrival back into the UK.

LA UPDATES 25th NOVEMBER

1.Educational Visits UK

The Educational Visits UK Days Out North East of England – Winter Magazine is a seasonal digital magazine (ezine) promoting what is happening regionally in museums and attractions to schools.  Teachers can access the latest events, online workshops and new ideas for school trips, the majority of the which has been provided by the museums/attractions themselves.  We have also included a section about what is happening in the school holidays for parents which schools can forward on to them.  The objective is to keep everyone safe and informed of what’s on over the winter period as well as helping the tourism industry recover after what has been a difficult two years. To see what is happening in neighboring regions please click on https://www.educationalvisitsuk.com/winter-digital-magazines/.

 

And from the DfE:

1.Information on applying for air cleaning units in SEND and Alternative Provision education settings

Eligible settings can now apply for a DfE-funded air cleaning unit. Before applying, please read the guidance which includes the eligibility criteria, the application process and form. Applications will close at 5pm on Tuesday 7 December.

An online ‘marketplace’ will be available from early-December if your setting is not eligible for a DfE-funded unit. This will be available for all state-funded primary and secondary schools, further education colleges and early years settings. The marketplace will provide a route to purchasing air cleaning units directly from suppliers at a suitable specification and competitive price. We will inform you through the sector email once the online marketplace has launched and provide a link to the information needed.

2.Quality assuring providers of full-time online education

A new post, “Quality assuring providers of full-time online education” has just been published on the Ofsted: schools, early years, further education and skills blog. Chris Russell, National Director for Education, discusses our consultation on full-time online education. Read the new post:

https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2021/11/24/quality-assuring-providers-of-full-time-online-education/

LA UPDATES 18th November

1.Unregistered schools

A new post, “Investigating unregistered schools – how you can help” has just been published on the Ofsted: schools, early years, further education and skills blog. Chris Russell, our National Director, Education, explains the work of our unregistered schools taskforce and what you should do if you want to report an illegal, unregistered school.

Read the new post: https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2021/11/15/investigating-unregistered-schools-how-you-can-help/

2.The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation issues advice on second dose of COVID-19 vaccination for 16 to 17 year olds

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that all healthy 16 to 17 year olds should be offered a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The second vaccine dose should be given 12 weeks or more following the first vaccine dose. For those in this age group who have had the COVID-19 infection, the second vaccine dose should be given 12 weeks or more following the first vaccine dose,   or 12 weeks following a positive COVID-19 test result – whichever is later. Those ‘at risk’ will continue to be offered a second dose 8 weeks after their first dose.

16 and 17 year olds will not be vaccinated through the schools programme, but through vaccination centres, community pharmacies and GP led primary care network sites. The national booking service will be available from Monday 22 November for 16 and 17 year olds to book their vaccine.

3.The JCVI issues advice on COVID-19 booster vaccines for those aged 40 to 49

The JCVI has advised that, in addition to those aged over 50 years and at higher risk from COVID-19, all adults aged 40 to 49 years should be offered an mRNA COVID-19 booster vaccine, 6 months after their second dose, irrespective of the vaccines given for the first and second doses.

4.Information on Ofsted inspections and COVID-19 outbreaks during the 12 to 15 year old COVID-19 vaccine rollout in secondary schools

We have confirmed with Ofsted that, in order to support the 12 to 15 vaccine rollout in schools, any school that has been notified of an Ofsted inspection at the same time as administering the vaccine can request a deferral. The vaccine rollout should take priority. Immunisation sessions should still go ahead as planned when a school has a COVID-19 outbreak, unless specifically advised not to by their local health protection team or director of public health.

5.Contingency arrangement for exams in summer 2022 in schools and colleges

Last week we confirmed contingency arrangements to support students in the unlikely event that exams in England cannot go ahead next year due to the pandemic. The government intends for exams to take place next summer. But if they cannot go ahead safely or fairly, due to the pandemic, contingency arrangements will be in place to ensure that schools and colleges are well prepared to enable students to achieve their qualifications.

Following a consultation, the Department for Education and Ofqual, the qualifications regulator, have confirmed students will receive teacher assessed grades based on a range of their work, similar to this summer. To help minimise workload burdens on teachers and students, Ofqual has published guidance for teachers on how they should collect evidence of students’ work during the academic year. This guidance reflects feedback from teachers and school leaders to make it as clear and helpful as possible.

6.Contingency framework update on face coverings in secondary schools

In areas of high or rapidly increasing prevalence, directors of public health may advise that secondary school pupils in that   area temporarily wear face coverings in communal areas in schools, unless they are exempt.

Your director of public health will let you know if this applies to your setting or area and will ask you to take some steps to increase testing participation at the same time. The contingency framework has been updated to reflect this change. Further information on face coverings, including how to wear one and exemptions, can be found in the guidance on face coverings.

7.Office for National Statistics COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey

If you are approached by the Office for National Statistics for the COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey, please consider participating. This study is a collaboration between the Office for National Statistics, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), working with the Department for Education. It will monitor antibodies to better understand the transmission of COVID-19 in schools and immunity in children.

Schools have been chosen carefully to ensure there is a representative sample, which will ensure it produces reliable, generalisable data and analysis as part of the study.

8.Hosting initial teacher training trainees in schools

Hosting trainee teachers can support you with meeting your upcoming recruitment needs as well as offering excellent professional development opportunities for your existing workforce; providing opportunities for them to hone their leadership and mentoring skills. For those of you already hosting trainee teachers, we strongly encourage you to continue doing so this academic year, and for those of you not already doing so, we recommend contacting your local initial teacher training providers to explore opportunities to do so.

Education and childcare settings should continue to operate as normally as possible by using the existing COVID-19 operational guidance and contingency framework, including by hosting trainee teachers.

If you would like to host trainee teachers, please contact ITT.ENGAGEMENT@education.gov.uk and we will support you to   partner with your local training providers. Alternatively, you can find and contact your local training providers directly by using the find teacher training service.

9.National Tutoring Programme

There are some webinars about the National Tutoring Programme coming up,  dates are below, and there’s further information at: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/events/ 

            Live demo of how to use NTP Tuition Hub, 6th December, 4PM Click here to register

            Introduction to the NTP (Overall Programme), 9th December, 4PM Click here to register

            Live demo of how to use NTP Tuition Hub, 17th December, 4PM, Click here to register

10.Information on air cleaning units in education and childcare settings

Our rollout of at least 300,000 CO2 monitors to schools, backed by £25 million in government funding, is on track with circa 278,000 monitors already delivered and the remainder to be delivered this term.

Feedback has highlighted that schools are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation, sitting alongside the other protective measures in place to manage transmission, such as regular testing, vaccinations and increased hygiene. In the majority of settings, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

In the very few cases where an area of poor ventilation (sustained CO2 readings above 1500ppm) has been identified and this cannot be resolved through opening windows and doors or minor repair works, it may be appropriate to consider the use of an air cleaning unit as an additional mitigation whilst further remedial work is undertaken to improve ventilation. Air cleaning units, when used properly, can help reduce airborne contaminants in a poorly ventilated space, including viruses like COVID-19. However, it should be noted that they are not a substitute for ventilation and should never be used as a reason to reduce            ventilation.

The Department for Education (DfE) will make 1,000 DfE-funded air cleaning units available for poorly ventilated teaching spaces and staff rooms in SEND and Alternative Provision settings, including SEN units in mainstream settings, where quick   fixes to improve ventilation are not possible. These settings are being prioritised given the higher-than-average number of vulnerable pupils attending those settings. Further information on the eligibility criteria and application process will be shared via the sector email next week.

An online ‘marketplace’ will be available from early-December if your setting is not eligible for a DfE-funded unit. The marketplace will provide a route to purchasing air cleaning units directly from suppliers at a suitable specification and reasonable price.

11. Information on the new mental health and wellbeing support scheme for school leaders and the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter for schools and colleges

This week, DfE launched a new support scheme for school leaders to improve and promote good mental health and wellbeing. The scheme, delivered by Education Support, will provide one-to-one counselling and peer support from experts to around 2,000 school leaders, helping those at deputy head level and above in state-funded schools in England with their mental wellbeing. School leaders can access support by visiting Education Support’s website.

An updated Education Staff Wellbeing Charter is also being launched this week, which sets out commitments from the Government, Ofsted, and schools and colleges, to promote and protect the mental health of the education workforce. Through the charter, the department pledges to work with the sectors to drive down unnecessary workload, improve access to wellbeing resources, and champion flexible working, among a range of actions to support staff wellbeing. We are  encouraging all state-funded schools and colleges to sign up to the charter to create a united approach to supporting staff.

12.Information for schools and colleges on checking your setting’s testing data in the ‘View your education data’ dashboard

It is crucial that we continue to encourage staff and students to regularly test themselves for COVID-19 and to report each result. This will help us break chains of transmission and keep schools and colleges open.

The first step toward improving uptake of testing within your setting is to understand your data and how this compares with testing rates nationally. Primary and secondary schools, further education providers inclusive of independent training providers and adult community learning providers, maintained schools and nurseries all have access to testing data.

You can access your testing data through the education data rapid testing dashboard.

13. Information for schools on the NTP – extending eligibility criteria for Academic Mentors

We are pleased to announce that following a review of the NTP we are extending the eligibility criteria for schools to apply for an Academic Mentor. We are now welcoming applications from schools whose pupil premium percentage is over 30%, regardless of where the school is located.

This is to support our commitment to support the most disadvantaged pupils and increases the scope of schools eligible for this resource to 53% of all schools in England.

 Previously, the eligibility criteria for a school to qualify for an Academic Mentor included:

·        schools who employed an Academic Mentor in academic year 2020/21

·        schools in one of the 118 listed local authority districts and Opportunity Areas

The criteria remains the same but now with the inclusion of all schools with over 30% of pupil premium able to apply for an Academic Mentor. To sign up for the Academic Mentor Programme, please visit the NTP website.

14.Information for schools on further funding for Oak National Academy in academic year 2021/22

The department has committed further funding to Oak National Academy, enabling it to operate through to Easter 2022.

The purpose of this funding is to enable Oak National Academy to continue to support schools in their remote education    provision where it is required.

All 10,000+ of Oak’s existing free, high-quality editable and adaptable lessons remain available, each featuring teacher-led videos to aid independent study across 35 subjects from early years foundation stage (EYFS) to key stage 4. Specialist content for pupils with SEND is also available. Covering communication and language, numeracy, creative arts, independent living, and physical development. Additionally, Oak offers therapy-based lessons and resources across occupational, physical, sensory integration and speech and language therapy.

LA UPDATES 11th November

1.School-led tutoring

Schools can sign-up for a free online training course for School-Led tutoring, part of the National Tutoring Programme

As part of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), all state-maintained schools have now received the first instalment of their grant funding allocation for School-Led tutoring.

From Monday 8 November, all schools can book their non-QTS tutoring staff onto the specialist training course to qualify them to become NTP School-Led Tutors. This free online training course is delivered by the Educational Development Trust and recognised by the Chartered College of Teaching. To book staff onto the NTP Training, please register your school and

The NTP’s guidance for School-Led Tutoring has been updated. The guidance now includes further information on training and data collection.

2.Back into a routine: looking at schools in light of COVID

A new post, “Back into a routine: looking at schools in light of COVID” has just been published on the Ofsted: schools, early years, further education and skills blog. Chris Russell, National Director for Education, on our return to routine inspection and the COVID context. Read the new post:

https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2021/11/10/back-into-a-routine-looking-at-schools-in-light-of-covid/

3.Review of time in schools and 16-19 settings

Last week we published the review of time in schools and 16-19 settings and the impact this could have on helping children         and young people to catch up

4.Support and guidance for those looking to return from overseas to teach in England

The Department for Education is running a series of online events to support those looking to return to teach in England. The third event in the series will take place on Tuesday 30 November (10am to 11am).

Our panel of experts will cover topics such as:

·        how returners can best demonstrate the value they bring to schools in England

·        remote interviewing tips

·        real life examples from recently returned head teachers and school leaders

·        guidance and practical support

Attendees will also get a chance to ask questions, network with colleagues in a similar position and shape future sessions.   Register online for this free event.

An online information pack is also available and covers the key information that teachers working overseas need as they consider a return to teach in England. Download the current information pack or visit Get into Teaching for further information.

Further personalised help and guidance is available, including one-to-one support through the get an adviser service if you teach maths, physics or modern foreign languages. The Teaching Vacancies service can be used to browse by subject, role in school and full or part-time work, and to set up job alerts.

LA UPDATES 4th OCTOBER

1.Neurodevelopmental Pathway

Please find attached information regarding the Neurodevelopmental Pathway.

There is a short briefing note available here   Neurodevelopmental Pathway | Middlesbrough (openobjects.com) and the new referral form is attached along with information  about the family support service.

2.Technology support and device grants

Get help with technology: conditions of internet access and device grants
Information about the eligibility criteria and payment process for connectivity and device funding. The Get Help with Technology (GHwT) service is providing an additional 500,000 laptops and tablets so that disadvantaged children and young people in school or college can access remote education and social care services.

3. Information for schools and colleges on asymptomatic COVID-19 testing

We have provided a toolkit to support you in encouraging pupils and students to test regularly. The toolkit provides strategies, best practice case studies and online resources to help increase participation levels. This includes sending GOV.​  UK automatic text reminders to test, working with student groups to encourage testing and incentivising testing through reward schemes. Students who find it especially challenging to test using lateral flow devices (LFDs) should be    treated sensitively and signposted to additional support available to help students test.

4.Information for schools on COVID-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15 year olds

Thank you for your continued work to support the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for 12 to 15 year olds in schools. Most schools should now have confirmed dates scheduled for a visit from their School Age Immunisation Service could complete this short form by 5pm on Wednesday 10 November. The NHS will then follow up with the relevant SAIS team. Further information and resources on the vaccination programme can be found in the guidance on COVID-19 vaccination: resources for schools and parents.

 5.Further information on the new funding for training for early years practitioners

In June 2021, the government announced a £153 million investment for early years and further detail on this funding is now available.

6.How schools with reception classes can register for the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme

State-funded schools with reception classes have accessed the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) free of charge this academic year. This has supported COVID-19 recovery efforts with thousands of pupils accessing vital support for their communication skills.

The registration window for NELI 2021/22 closed on Sunday 31 October 2021. If you have not registered and would like to access the programme, please contact primary.enquiries@oup.com. Further information about the programme is available on the Nuffield Early Language Intervention website.

7.Take part in research into education recovery strategies in schools

The Department for Education has commissioned research to understand education recovery strategies in schools, following the disruption caused by the pandemic. As part of this research, the Centre for Education and Youth is conducting case studies involving interviews with senior leaders, class teachers, a short pupil diary task, and a short online parents’ survey.

We are keen to hear from all types of schools, including primary, secondary, middle, all-through, special schools and alternative provision, to gather information on the views and experiences of schools across the country. We would like to conduct the first round of fieldwork in November and December, and the second round in summer term 2022. All fieldwork   can be conducted virtually and remotely. If your school is interested in taking part or finding out more about the research, please contact hello@cfey.org.

8.Research on pupils’ progress in the 2020/21 academic year

The Department for Education commissioned Renaissance Learning and the Education Policy Institute to conduct

Independent research to monitor the academic progress of pupils in schools in England over the course of the 2020/21 academic year. The latest findings were published on Friday 29 October.

Department for Education COVID-19 helpline

The Department for Education COVID-19 helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) is available to answer any questions you have about COVID-19 relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Department for Education COVID-19 guidance

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic can be accessed using the links below: