Notice: 17 December 2020

A round-up of news, guidance and key updates for education settings.

Included in the update:

Director Update

Dear Colleagues,

We are at the end of what can only be described as one of the most intense autumn terms on record (this of course followed an unprecedented Spring and Summer Term) and we have made it through! Your ongoing commitment, passion, skill, expertise and dedication to children and young people has been truly extraordinary. I thank everyone who works in education. Whatever role you play, never underestimate the difference you are making.

We have created a ‘thank you’ video for everyone who works in education, please do check this out. We posted it via social media and it has attracted some really positive comments. We will continue to collect these and pass them on. There are some lovely messages and appreciation of your efforts.

I know as we head into Christmas it is not quite as smooth as hoped, with governmental announcements coming during the last week of term. We will continue to provide updates, some included below, so that everyone is clear about the position.

Finally I just want to say many thanks to you all for your support and encouragement over the last term. What a time to start a new job! There truly though, is no place better to have done so than in Telford and Wrekin. We will always be one strong team.

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas

Simon Wellman
Director: Education and Skills

Thank You to ALL Education Staff

Thank you - this year everyone working in education has been amazing!
We asked for parent/carers, children and young people to join us in saying thanks.

Please watch the video and see the messages shared on Telford and Wrekin Facebook and @TelfordWrekin on Twitter to see everyone appreciation for the hard work of all staff in all educational settings.



New Testing Offer:  Availability of rapid testing in Telford and Wrekin for staff who work in educational settings (i.e. early years providers, schools and post 16 institutions)

Staff working in educational settings can already access regular testing (known as PCR testing), even when they are asymptomatic, through local testing centres in Telford and Wrekin. These are the drive thru sites at Ironbridge Park & Ride and Randlay Lorry Park and the walk thru centres in: Oakengates, Donnington, Wellington, Madeley and Harper Adams. Staff can book tests directly via the  Government’s Get Coronavirus Test web page and further information is supplied here: Booking a COVID-19 test on the advice of the Local Authority.

To complement this Telford and Wrekin Council are now also offering rapid COVID testing (known as LFT testing) to all staff who work in educational settings. These tests take less than 15 minutes to administer and around 30 minutes to produce a result as they don’t need to go to the lab to be processed.

Rapid testing is being used for people without COVID symptoms (i.e. asymptomatic people), so it compliments rather than replaces, our other local testing sites which are nationally run. The aim is to identify people with COVID we don’t know about through targeted testing, for example where individuals are more at risk or infection rates are known to be higher. Finding more positive cases will break the chains of transmission and enable us to work towards returning to normal life as soon and as safely as possible. Please note this testing is for people who have not had a positive COVID test in the past. 

Our Rapid COVID Testing Centre at The Place, Oakengates offers testing on weekdays and also on Sunday afternoons. The test involves colleagues taking their own throat and nose swab and passing it to a testing operative, who will process the results. The results link directly into the national NHS Test & Trace system. We expect around 1% of people will have a COVID positive test result, and if this happens you will be asked to take a further test through the standard testing site route to confirm the result. 

We have the capacity for 100 tests per day and the service runs on weekdays and Sunday afternoons.  You can book a slot for here Telford & Wrekin Rapid Testing. The target group colleagues need to select in the drop down box is ‘Education Setting’.  Further information on the testing process will be issued as part of the booking and registration process. Please note the testing site will be closed between 24 December 2020 and 3 January 2021, but will re-open again on Monday 4 January 2021. 


Which test should I take?
If you have one of the 3 main symptoms or are taking a precautionary test because you have any of the wider symptoms then you must have the standard PCR test and book this through the Government’s Get a Test website - further information is supplied on the Education Noticeboard: 26 November 2020. The rapid or LFT test is only being used in Telford & Wrekin at the moment for people who have no symptoms to find cases we wouldn’t otherwise know about due to their lack of symptoms.

How does this link with the DfE announcement about rapid testing in schools (starting with secondary) from January?
The offer we have made for staff to get a rapid test from now is to provide an interim arrangement until we know more about rapid testing in schools (staring with secondary) from January.  Telford and Wrekin has a rapid testing site and there is capacity for staff in educational settings without symptoms to be tested through this route should they wish.

If I have no symptoms and want to get tested do I need to do a rapid (LFT) test or can I book a PCR test?
If you want a test you can determine which one you would like to do.  The rapid test will provide you with results sooner, however should you test positive on this LFT test you will need to book a standard PCR test to confirm the result.  In addition, there are only 100 rapid tests available each day and therefore depending on demand it might be necessary for you to use the PCR test route instead.

DfE rapid testing announcement for schools and colleges

This week the DfE released an announcement regarding the use of rapid coronavirus testing for schools and colleges from January.  Further detail about these proposals can be found by following the links in the DfE statement below.  A live event hosted by the DfE is also planned on 18 December 2020 1pm-2pm, as shown below.

Telford and Wrekin’s response, in collaboration with you our schools and Academy partners, will be to take a phased approach to implementation when we return from the Christmas holidays.  There are a number of unknowns and we are seeking further clarity on these matters.  Thank you to the Strategic Partnership who met with myself yesterday, who raised questions on behalf of the sector which I will feed up to the DfE during our next conversation. 

To clarify, current practice regarding your involvement with track and trace, in collaboration with the Health Protection Hub, will continue into the new term.  Where changes are made, in line with new guidance issued, we will do this in a planned way that compliments existing activity.  You will note that the proposals around introducing rapid testing in schools will impact on secondary schools and colleges first.  Any further implementation of the approach in primary schools will take place well into the Spring Term.

I do want to repeat that we will begin planning for implementation with you once we have received more detail and following the Christmas break. 

Simon Wellman
Director: Education and Skills

Coronavirus rapid testing for schools and colleges from January - DFE announcement (15th January 2020)

Today we have announced that from January teachers and pupils will have access to rapid testing to help keep schools and colleges open throughout the spring term.

From January, and starting with secondary schools, including all special schools and alternative provision, the education workforce will be eligible for weekly on the spot tests. This will help identify asymptomatic cases – which make up a third of all cases – limiting the spread of the virus. This will be backed up by daily testing for staff who have been in close contact with a positive case therefore eliminating the need for self-isolation; allowing them to continue to come into school or college.

Students and pupils will be eligible for daily testing if they have been in close contact with a positive case.

You can read the press notice and a detailed Q&A for parents, but here is a summary of the key details of the announcement:

  • Teachers and pupils will have access to rapid testing from January.
  • Staff who are in close contact with cases will be eligible for daily testing, eliminating the need for immediate self-isolation. Only if a daily test returns a positive result will the staff member need to isolate.
  • Testing will roll out as rapidly as possible from January, starting with staff and moving quickly on to serial testing of students.
  • It is the decision of the individual school or college when they would like to begin accessing this new dedicated testing capacity.

A handbook to help schools and colleges prepare for rapid testing from January is now available.

Rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in schools and colleges - Handbook

On Friday 18 December between 13:00 to 14:00 there will be a live event to provide more information on testing, which will include an opportunity to ask questions. Following the event, a copy of the questions asked will be made available, together with the responses.

Join the live event

Big Winter Coat Project

We know from your feedback that more children than ever are arriving at school without a winter coat and that this isn’t from personal choice, they just don’t have one. Every child should have a coat to keep them warm this winter. 

Telford & Wrekin Council are making £50,000 available from the COVID Winter Grant Scheme to purchase coats for children where families are unable to afford one. 

If you work with any children or families that you believe this applies to please make a referral via our online form (one referral per family). We just need some basic information and we will contact the family for details on size and style preference. Referrals will only be accepted from a professional working with the family. 

You must let the family know that you are making this referral and seek their permission to do so. To make it as easy as possible please share the following information with them. 

“Telford & Wrekin Council are offering coats to children who do not have a coat to keep them warm this winter. 

If you are interested in your child being considered for a winter coat, we need your permission for us to provide your contact details to Telford & Wrekin Council, please let us know whether you consent to us sharing this information.”

Coats will be delivered to the school for distribution to families. We are working in partnership with Councillor Kelly Middleton and Councillor Paul Watling through the School Uniform Project and The Anstice Community Trust to deliver this project. 

Please note, we need to ensure that this funding is used where it is needed the most. We are therefore opening referrals to schools and professionals working directly with families only, please do not advertise this more widely.

Please make you referral on our short online form.

If you have any further enquiries please contact us by email at:

Coronavirus Posters RCPCH guidance

Please share these posters with Parent/Carers, regarding what to do if a baby or child is unwell during the coronavirus pandemic.

Download: Coronavirus poster babies 2020.
Download: Coronavirus poster parents 2020.

Remember that the NHS is still providing safe care.

GP practices and hospitals have made changes to help reduce the risk of infection. Only one parent/carer will be able to attend A&E with their child. Please use the hand sanitisers provided, wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and maintain social distancing.

Remember: if your baby or child is unwell, seek advice and medical attention, take a look at the advice sheets which are available to download.

Arthog keeps delivering outdoor joy for Telford and Wrekin school children, despite pandemic

Despite the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Arthog Outdoor Education Centres have ensured school children have still been able to get out and about, taking on challenges such as archery, climbing and canoeing.

Council services have collaborated to ensure activities can continue in a covid-safe way at schools, hubs such as Telford Town Park and at outdoor activity venues across Telford and Shropshire.

In some of the most difficult circumstances in living memory, the teams from Arthog Wales, Arthog Outreach and Sky Reach High Ropes have kept outdoor education an enjoyable reality for youngsters across Telford and Shropshire.

Now the council is spreading the word further, ensuring children at all the schools across Telford and Wrekin get the opportunity for some seriously fun outdoor activities, whilst learning at the same time!

The work of the Arthog teams this year has seen youngsters from across Telford and Wrekin enjoying canoeing on the Montgomery Canal and on Simpsons Pool.

Exploring the local fields and hedges, to make fire and hedgerow tea, walking up the Wrekin to explore its place in history, climbing and walking at Llanymynech, Grinshill, and Corbett Woods.

Team-building and tower climbing days were held on school grounds, while groups of children were taken on walks up Limekiln Lane and into Short Wood for a Stone Age experience which even included tracking the deer.

Councillor Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “The pandemic brought so many challenges to our outdoor education services but, rather than thinking of what we couldn’t do, we have been focusing on all the opportunities that are still out there – and even creating new ones.

“The collaborative approach of Arthog Wales, Arthog Outreach and Sky Reach High Ropes meant that our outdoor education services could continue despite the pandemic”. 

“This has been essential in keeping children fit and well, particularly now at these challenging times.”

 “I would like to thank all our staff involved in keeping these services going, and another massive ‘thank-you’ to all the schools who have booked activities with us throughout this time.”

Gail Butele, deputy head at Short Wood Primary School, said: “We currently have children on our pool with Martin (from Arthog Outreach) in a canoe and the joy in their responses is a delight to hear. The team have done a great job in helping us make that happen.”

Sarah Staniforth, acting head teacher at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, said: “Arthog Outreach offered us the opportunity to plan outdoor and adventurous activities that could happen locally.”  

“The cherry on top of the cake for me was to see the Arthog Wales instructors at school collecting children for a day of fun adventures and children returning at the end of the day full of excitement and stories of what they had been up to.”  

“Now more than ever, it is important for us to keep providing these opportunities for children to ensure that they keep health and active as well as contributing positively to their mental health and wellbeing.”

Any school interested in finding out more about Arthog activities or making a booking should email

For more take a look at the websites for Arthog Wales and for Arthog Outreach.

CPD courses in the Spring Term of 2021

We are currently reviewing how each of our courses will be delivered in the Spring Term of 2021 and further details will be published in the new year, but please continue to book by completing a CPD booking form and sending it via email to

Please can we take this opportunity to thank everyone who has attended our courses in the Autumn Term of 2020 - we have very much enjoyed working with you.  We hope you have a lovely Christmas and New Year break and look forward to seeing you again in 2021.

Sue Dyson
Traded Service Specialist
School Performance and Development

Telford Education Services Website

For course bookings please email

Save the Date – SENCo Briefing Thursday 14 January 2021

Please save the date in your diary, we are arranging a SENCo Briefing for all settings, to include early years, all schools and post 16 settings. This briefing will give an overview of the celebrations and challenges from 2020 and the support for SEND in 2021.

  • Thursday 14 January 2021
  • 4pm – 5pm
  • Microsoft Teams

A full agenda will be released in the first noticeboard of the new term. We hope you all have an amazing and well deserved break and look forward to seeing you all soon.

For more information please contact:

SEND Local Offer

SEND Progress and Achievement Dashboards

Updated SEND Progress and Achievement dashboards, which have been refreshed for 2020, have now been emailed to all Telford and Wrekin primary and secondary schools. Please do look out for them.  

As always, we hope that you find this information useful.  

Should you require further information, please email us at

SEND Parent/Carer Newsletter – Winter 2020

Please download and share the SEND Parent/Carer Newsletter – Winter 2020.

Updates and information for Parent/Carers on:

  • Occupational Therapy Update
  • Advice for Parent/Carers during Coronavirus - what to do if your child is unwell
  • Annual Health Checks for Adults and Young People 14 plus with a Learning Disability
  • Joint Strategic Needs Assessment has been published
  • Update from SEND IASS
  • PODs (Parent Carer Forum)
  • Learn Telford Courses.

Download: SEND Parent/Carer Newsletter - Winter 2020.

For more information please contact:

SEND Local Offer

Sensory Inclusion Service Newsletters

Available to download and share are the Sensory Inclusion Service Newsletters. 

Download: Visual Impairment Newsletter - December 2020.
Download: Sensory Inclusion Service Hearing Impairment Newsletter - December 2020.
Download: Sensory Inclusion Service Hearing Impairment Newsletter Insert - December 2020.

The Sensory Inclusion Service would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a relaxing and happy festive break.

For more information about the Sensory Inclusion Service please take a look at the SEND Local Offer.

Free Educational Session – Cool Kids Programme with Occupational Therapy Advice

Cool Kids movement programme and Handwriting

Session aims:

  • to provide basic understanding of sensory motor development and why it is important to children in school
  • understanding developmental stages of lying on the back, tummy, rolling, creeping and crawling
  • understanding the underlying principles of the Cool Kids Programme
  • identify pupils who would benefit
  • deliver the programme effectively
  • understanding handwriting development (OT perspective)
  • increase awareness of programmes, equipment and adaptations that can be used
  • incorporate strategies successfully in the classroom.

The session will be completed online via the Zoom app, and a link will be sent via email once a place has been confirmed.

Places are limited and must be booked in advance.

The next available sessions to book onto are:

  • Tuesday 19 January 2021
  • 1pm - 3pm
  • Online via Zoom app

To book a place:

  • we are able to offer up to two places for this session to your school
  • we recommend that a Class Teacher/SENCo attends this session, if they have not already done so
  • additionally the session will be valuable to any member of staff who will be potentially delivering the group in your school.

Please contact Tracey Bowen by telephone to book your place on this training, and provide an email address that joining links can be sent to.

Telephone: 01743 450839

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Download: Cool Kids Invite Letter.

We look forward to you joining online.

The Community Paediatric Occupational Therapy Team

16 - 19 Telford & Wrekin Post 16 Prospectus

The Telford 16 - 19 prospectus has information on the local offer including almost 300 A - levels, BTECs and Apprenticeships across six schools and colleges making Telford an inspirational hub for learning, opportunity and achievement.

Telford 16 - 19 Website

Please utilise with students to help them make informed decisions on their post 16 destinations and link to the prospectus from your websites.

For more information please contact us by email: or, by phone: 01952 388988.

Census 2021

As you may be aware, the Census is a survey that happens every 10 years and provides a picture of all the people and households in England & Wales.

Local Authorities, charities and other organisations use the census data to decide how to allocate services and funding in areas such as education, transport and healthcare.

The next Census is taking place on Sunday 21 March 2021.

As part of this, the Office for National Statistics has developed Let’s Count! - An exciting free education resource programme that teaches children about the Census. The programme has achieved accreditation from MEI, NATE and the Geographical Association, and the resources have been designed to teach children both in the classroom and at home.

There are programmes for both primary schools and secondary schools and each provides a unique opportunity to help teachers and young people understand how census information is used to make decisions across society and impact on the things that matter to them.

The programme will:

  • excite and educate young people aged 11-18 about the importance of the Census, for them and their communities
  • inspire with flexible, free activities, developed with young people and teachers, which highlight the power students have to make change happen through the Census
  • provide real-world context for young people’s learning with lesson activities, films, and a competition linking to a range of curriculum subjects, such as PSHE, Maths and History.

Further information about can be found on the Let’s Count! website.

Office for National Statistics Community Awards

To mark the 22nd decennial census, a search is underway across England and Wales for 22 ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the benefit of their communities.

The winners of the competition will be recognised with an iconic purple plaque to display in a place of their choosing – be it the home, workplace or wider community.

From a nurse who has spent decades in the NHS, to a local war hero who volunteers at the community centre, or a teacher who inspires her students, communities are brimming with individuals who deserve to be recognised for their efforts and achievements.

Nominations can be made up until 31 December 2020 and entries will be judged by a panel of community champions, led by Gavin and Stacey star, Joanna Page and includes Delwyn Derrick, winner of the 2019 BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality Unsung Hero, Deborah Okenla, founder of Your Start Up Story (YSUS), which is a company connecting talented diverse people into the world of technology and Imran Hameed, Founder of Bearded Broz, Specially Recognised 2020 winner at Birmingham Pride of Britain awards.

To find out how to make a nomination, please take a look at Census 2021 Heroes.  


Every week during term time we publish a new update for the education community. It includes essential briefings and specialist information about education.

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