Notice: 21 January 2021

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

Included in this update:

Director update

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you will have received the notification yesterday from the DfE that explained there has been a pause on daily (serial) testing in secondary schools, further detail is provided below. Just to confirm mass testing in secondary schools and regular testing of staff (the frequency of which is moving to twice a week) is continuing. Testing for staff in primary schools and early years settings has been a hot topic. The Health and Safety team have provided a short update for primary schools. For early years settings there is information about our plan to initiate priority bookings at our local test centre which will be made available as soon as possible. We will be in touch with further details

Thank you for the positive responses received around the escalation process for school admissions which we shared recently (Notice: 7 January 2021). We know that schools and the council are working hard to ensure that we place children as quickly as possible and our aim is to offer the highest school preference, working to the DFE legal guidelines. We will now look to launch the escalation process with effect from 25 January 2021.

A free webinar for teachers supporting children in care is available, this is being hosted by the West Midlands Virtual School Children in Care Foundation and is suitable for anyone supporting children in Key Stage 4 and Post 16, please ensure to take a look.

Once again, the CPD courses that are available until February half term are listed, courses are continuing to be held virtually and delegate fees have been adjusted to take in to account any savings that are being made by not using external venues.

Looking ahead, new term dates and holidays have been shared for 2022-2023, along with suggested PD days and a template for schools to use on their websites.

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing your ‘Good News Stories’ on the noticeboard. If you would like to share a story from your school or setting, please remember to tag @TelfordWrekin into your social media posts so we can continue to share your work.

Once again, I would like to thank you for your hard work and commitment as you continue to support children and young people in Telford & Wrekin.

Simon Wellman
Director: Education and Skills

Grange Park Primary – Bear Hunt

Grange Park Primary School in Stirchley, have started a bear hunt, asking local children to put a teddy in their window for other children to find on their daily walks.

They want to share this challenge far and wide in the hope of getting as many Telford children as possible involved.

Please share the post from Facebook.

If you would like to join the Grange Park bear hunt...
Pop a teddy bear into your front window, along with a poster using our school name, logo or #TeamGP.

Then, when out on your daily walks, keep your eyes peeled for other bears hiding in windows!
Take lots of pictures of your bear or bears you have found on your travels for us to share on our Facebook page.

What a great community project to share some positivity during this difficult time!

Education and Skills Core Offer

A collaborative approach is operated between Telford and Wrekin Council, Teaching School Councils and Multi-Academy Trusts to improve outcomes for our children and young people. This document lays out the Council’s education services offer to schools, and includes a directory of key contacts and management structure charts.

Telford and Wrekin are committed to working in close partnership with schools to ensure that every young person receives the best possible education, drawing on the education expertise our Borough has to offer.

The Core Offer document outlines:

  • the education services that Telford and Wrekin Council delivers to maintained schools and academies across the borough
  • an overview of our key priorities for 2020-2021
  • the management structure in place to deliver these services.

The full document is available to download: Education and Skills Core Offer.

Message to education leaders from the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson

I am writing to you as school and college leaders to thank you for your flexibility and resilience during this challenging period. I am continually impressed and immensely grateful for all the work you have done in response to the challenges presented by the pandemic.

During this period, leaders and staff have stepped up in so many ways. The role you play is vital in providing vulnerable children and young people, and the children of critical workers, access to on-site education and the best quality remote learning for the majority of our students.

School and college leaders are playing a key role in setting up COVID-19 testing. Testing remains a vital part of our plan to supress this virus, and the widespread rollout of regular testing using rapid lateral flow tests is already proving beneficial in finding people with coronavirus before they develop symptoms.

We have consistently been guided by experts, and as part of our testing approach we rolled out daily contact testing in schools on the advice of NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England (PHE).

Both NHS Test and Trace and PHE have now reviewed that advice, and concluded that, in light of the higher prevalence and rates of transmission of the new variant, further evaluation work is required to understand the impact of daily contact testing, instead of self-isolation for those who have been in contact with a case, to make sure it is achieving its aim of breaking chains of transmission and reducing cases of the virus in the community.

In light of that assessment, we are pausing daily contact testing in all but a small number of secondary schools and colleges, where it will continue with detailed evaluation to inform any future resumption and to make sure nobody in the remaining settings is put at any risk. Regular testing of staff should continue and will increase to twice weekly as further reassurance and to break chains of transmission during this period.

We know that these are challenging times and want to do all we can to support you.

We have worked collectively to make sure students have access to laptops to allow them to access the quality online education you are providing. Over three quarters of a million laptops and tablets have already been delivered to schools and local authorities, and we will be increasing that to 1.3 million, including extending the scheme to 16-19 year olds in both FE providers and school sixth-forms. This is in addition to ensuring there are connectivity packages available to those that need access to the internet. We have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help children get online as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home. We are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer through the Get Help with Technology scheme. Please do continue to register your requirements with my department.

I know you have moved very quickly to delivering remote learning. For those of you who would like further support on this, we are providing support through OAK Academy on lesson content and providing support from other schools and colleges through the EdTech Demonstrator programme. Schools can also get funding and support to set up a digital education platform (Google for Education or Microsoft Office 365 Education). Full details of the support available for remote education can be accessed on the Get Help with Remote Education page.

We all want to ensure that those students most heavily impacted by the pandemic are able to catch up on missed education. Last year, we launched the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) which is providing up to £350 million of targeted support for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils who are most at risk of falling further behind due to having lost time in education. The NTP provides high-quality tuition support for 5 - 16 year olds, funding for small group tuition for 16 - 19 year olds and support for an oral language programme for reception-aged pupils.

Given the further disruption to education, we have regrettably had to review our plans for exams this summer, as I announced on 6 January. We cannot guarantee that all students will be able to fairly sit their exams this summer, and it is my firm policy position that alternative arrangements are needed to award qualifications. Together with Ofqual, we have launched a joint consultation to seek views on alternative assessment arrangements for GCSE, AS, and A levels and propositions for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs). The consultation launched on Friday 15th January and will run for two weeks. I am keen to hear your views, both through the written consultation, and through planned engagement with stakeholder groups, including teacher unions and schools’ representatives. You can read more about the consultation, including further detail on the proposals, on GOV.​UK.

For GCSE, AS, and A level, it is my firm policy position that students’ results should be determined based on teachers’ assessment of their performance, informed by a breadth of evidence, and we want to support you to do this. Further detail on VTQs and other general qualifications, with their varied needs and assessment approaches, is available in the consultation and in my letter to Ofqual.

I know there are significant challenges in the coming weeks for school and college leaders. We know that receiving face to face education is best for children’s and young people’s mental health and for their educational achievement. It is therefore my sincere hope that with the efforts we are all making to contain the virus, children and young people across England will be back in the classroom, spending time with their friends and teachers, and getting back into the rhythms of the school or college year again soon. We are keeping plans for the return to school and college under continuous review and will ensure that children and young people return to face to face education as soon as it is possible. We will inform schools, colleges and parents ahead of the February half term. I will continue to work with you as we deal with this evolving and challenging situation, as well as with health colleagues, the Chief and Deputy Chief Medical Officers.

I would like to thank you for the huge effort that you have put into keeping children and young people safe and learning. I am extremely grateful to you, all your staff, governors and trustees for the immense commitment you have shown. I want you to know that I am committed to supporting you, and I know that together we will get through this as we all strive to deliver the best we can for our pupils and students.

The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP
Secretary of State for Education

Position statement regarding daily contact testing in secondary schools from PHE and NHS Test and Trace

Update from GOV.UK: Published 20 January 2021

At the end of last year the government announced a widespread testing programme in schools to detect additional asymptomatic cases and reduce transmission. This included regular testing of staff and the introduction of daily contact testing for close contacts in secondary schools. This remains an extremely important part of our overarching testing programme.

Initial pilots of testing in schools (led by Public Health England (PHE) and NHS Test and Trace), including contact testing, started in October. These pilots illustrated the potential benefit of daily contact testing in schools in detecting more positive cases and ensuring continued face-to-face education. In parallel modelling work was undertaken by SPI-M, looking at the potential for the regular testing of contacts as an alternative to self-isolation. The SAGE 68 meeting concluded that: “overall SAGE is supportive of piloting regular testing to avoid quarantine and assesses that this could provide a similar effect to the current 14-day isolation system” [note that the isolation period has subsequently reduced from 14 to 10 days].

On the basis of the potential benefit of daily contact testing in pilot schools, wider pilots and modelling work, the introduction daily contact testing was supported in schools alongside weekly testing, given the high priority of provision of education in a face-to-face setting. This is part of a wider rollout of daily contact testing, as set out in the government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan.

Since the announcement of the schools testing programme in December, we have seen the emergence of a new variant of the virus which has become dominant in the UK. The variant has been shown to have increased transmissibility and causes higher secondary attack rates. This increases the risk of transmission everywhere, including in school settings.

Given that VOC202012/01 has higher rates of transmission and hence generates a higher secondary attack rate – and that the pandemic has entered a new phase – the balance between the risks (transmission of virus in schools and onward to households and the wider community) and benefits (education in a face-to-face and safe setting) for daily contact testing is unclear.

In light of this changing situation, we now recommend that the rollout of daily contact testing within schools is paused, other than for schools involved in further evaluation. This will enable the further detailed evaluation of changing circumstances including, potentially, lower infection rates and modelling work required to understand the benefits of daily contact testing in the this new phase of the pandemic.

Schools should continue to test their staff regularly (twice-weekly where possible, in line with recommendations for other workforces that need to leave the home to work) and test pupils twice upon return to school, as has been the case since the start of January.

NHS Test and Trace and PHE will conduct structured evaluation of daily contact testing as part of a wider evaluation of daily contact testing in a range of private and public settings. The Department for Education will support this evaluation so that its findings can contribute to further public health advice on daily contact testing in educational settings. Schools or colleges who have found daily contact testing helpful and would like to take part in the evaluation should contact the NHS Test and Trace evaluation team:

Position statement regarding daily contact testing in schools from PHE and NHS Test and Trace

Health and Safety - Asymptomatic Testing in Primary Schools and Maintained Nurseries

The Department of Education are offering primary and maintained nursery schools the opportunity to take part in regular asymptomatic testing. The lateral flow test will be undertaken in staff’s home.  The DfE have released further testing guidance and materials, the internal health and safety team have produced a template Risk Assessment for Rapid Testing in Primary and Nursery schools for you to adapt for your setting. This has been produced in conjunction with all the recent guidance and documents issued  from a H&S prospective

Download: Template Risk Assessment for Rapid Testing for Primary and maintained Nursery staff

Information from the DfE on rapid asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for staff in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools.

Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19) asymptomatic testing for staff in primary schools and nurseries.

If you have any further enquiries about H&S please contact: or

Access to asymptomatic tests for staff in private, voluntary and independent nurseries (PVIs) and childminders

In recognition of the crucial role played by staff in our private, voluntary and independent nurseries (PVIs) and childminders, the Local Authority will be offering priority access to asymptomatic testing at The Place, Oakengates on Sunday 31 January 2021 between the hours of 10am – 2.30pm. This will give capacity for 270 tests and provide results prior to the start of the next working week for any eligible staff who would like this access.

Details about how to book will be circulated shortly.

Independent Inquiry Telford Child Sexual Exploitation

Get in touch poster

As you may be aware, in 2019 Telford & Wrekin Council commissioned an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation within the Borough. The purpose of the Inquiry is to fully investigate and establish the facts of child sexual exploitation in Telford & Wrekin from 1989 to the present day to identify if, and where, public, and other services have failed and where possible, to establish who is accountable for any failure/s and to make recommendations for the future.

At the end of last year, the Chair launched an advertising campaign and made a further call for witnesses to come forward and give evidence to the Inquiry. The Chair has asked the Council to help push this call for evidence out through schools to reach parents and guardians of school aged children, who may have relevant evidence to provide to the Inquiry. With that in mind, the Inquiry has prepared suggested wording that could be shared with parents by schools, using the preferred method of communication.

Schools and their staff are also asked to consider whether they themselves may have relevant evidence to provide to the Inquiry, and if so please do get in touch with the Inquiry.

Further information can be found at Independent Inquiry Telford Child Sexual Exploitation website and the Inquiry can be contacted by email:

By phone: 08003894322

Exploitation & Vulnerability Training for Telford

Free 2 hour Training session provided by West Mercia Police

The training has now come under the control of the force trainers (Karen & Vicki) and has been revisited and streamlined for online delivery via Zoom or MS Teams. The training covers all the original requirements, but is now delivered within 1.5hrs generally, but is scheduled for 2hrs for Q & A’s should it be required. The training is a ‘Raising Awareness’ only, should a more in depth input be required this can be looked into as an additional training requirement.

Many of you know Karen & Vicki from their previous roles in the council, as Karen - Education Safeguarding Trainer  and  Vicki- Youth Engagement – Telford for West Mercia police.

As the police system has not moved to integrated training for MS Teams, we require the requesting school, to set up the training and then share the invite and allow us to present via that format. We look forward to our local schools booking onto the training.

Course Outline

Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults is everybody’s responsibility. This course aims to raise awareness of:

  • Vulnerability
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) / Gangs
  • Modern Day Slavery
  • Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)/consent
  • Criminal Exploitation(CE)
  • Victim Blaming language
  • National Referral Mechanism (NRM)
  • Pathways / Diversionary Tactics / Sharing of Intelligence

Course Objectives

At the end of the course, it is intended that attendees will have a clear understanding of:

  • Types of Criminal Exploitation & Modern Day Slavery
  • Factors to support YP in vulnerable situations
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • National Referral Mechanism and how to raise concerns
  • Personal, professional accountability and responsibility
  • Information sharing
  • The importance of documentation and record keeping
  • The use of non-victim blaming language
  • How to Respond, Record and Report concerns
  • The agencies / services that people can be signposted to

These training sessions are available to any person who requires an insight into Vulnerability & Exploitation.

The course is funded by the PCC, John Campion, and is delivered, without cost, to the requesting organisation.

For further information, or to request a booking form, please contact either Vicki Ridgewell or Karen Perry at:
The above email is a generic central email and is monitored continuously.
To contact the trainer’s direct please us their individual emails:    

Term dates and Holidays for Academic year 2022 - 2023

Enquiries usually begin during the Spring Term from staff who work in educational settings about future term dates and holidays. I am pleased to be able to share these with you at this early opportunity for the academic year 2022  - 2023.  

There are three LA suggested PD days:

  • 3 January 2023
  • 24 July 2023 and 25 July 2023.

Schools should add two further PD days or of course select all five of their own.

Schools are cordially requested to send a copy of all agreed PD days by email to:

The template for your website is available to download.

Download: Term Dates for 2022-2023 Template.

The importance of well qualified Teaching Assistants in the Early Years Foundation Stage

The report, ‘Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants’ (2015), found that Teaching Assistants can help children make an additional two to four months’ progress over an academic year when delivering structured interventions. The impact, though, is seen only when Teaching Assistants are provided with high-quality training and support.

In early years, the role of a teaching assistant includes nurturing the natural curiosity of a child, as they move up to primary school, the role progresses to include developing the skills that a child will need to complete the school curriculum. 

The two articles available to download ‘All about Teaching Assistants’ and ‘Teaching assistants side by side’ provide strong evidence of the importance of early years teaching assistants holding a good knowledge and understanding of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum and of child development.

One of the most critical time periods in a child’s life is their development and learning from birth to five years old. Teaching Assistants who can competently support and scaffold children’s play and learning are key to this and will be able to contribute to this most important phase.

On the Telford Education Services Website you will find a range of training suitable for teaching assistants who work in nursery and reception which will support their knowledge and understanding of the EYFS curriculum and underpinning guidance.

Courses available shortly:

EY 001 An Introduction to the Early Years Foundation Stage

  • 1 February 2021 and 8 February 2021
  •  4pm to 5.30pm.

Key Outcomes Participants will become acquainted with the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and Statutory Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements. Attendees will:

  • be familiar with the key documents relating to the EYFS
  • reflect on the importance of meeting the statutory safeguarding and welfare requirements
  • be able to identify the themes and principles of the EYFS
  • gain an understanding of the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development, including the 7 areas of learning and development
  • be able to identify the characteristics of effective teaching and learning.

EY 301 Creative approaches and new ideas for sharing stories within the EYFS:

  • 23 February 2021
  • 4.00pm to 5.30pm.

Course Content (Ofsted) The school inspection handbook states that inspectors will consider how well staff develop:

  • children’s communication and language through singing songs, nursery rhymes and playing games
  • children’s love of reading through reading aloud and telling stories and rhymes Sally Tonge is a well-known storyteller and musician working in schools, Early Years settings, libraries and community settings. She is a trader in twaddle, a collector of taradiddles and a talemonger. She has been an adviser for various initiatives such as (ECAT) Every Child a Talker and a popular trainer for teachers and practitioners nationwide. Sally works extensively with children in special schools and for whom spoken words don’t come easily. This course is a hands on session, in which we will be sharing tried and tested ways of engaging even the youngest children to enjoy and experience playful, expressive and fun language.

Key Outcomes:

  • an understanding and appreciation of what is storytelling – we all have stories to share and tell
  • ideas to make story time interactive, visual and auditory
  • an introduction to the wonderful, wordy kinaesthetic world of Story Sticks
  • takeaway stories to tell tomorrow!

For more information please contact us by email on:

SENCo Network Meeting – Thursday 4 February 2021

Please join us at the SENCo Network Meeting (cross phase) on:

  • Thursday 4 February 2021
  • 4pm - 5pm.

During this session we will be asking SENCo’s to share experiences, strategies, learning experiences and top tips.

As part of the session and following feedback received, we will be using breakout rooms to enable you to network in smaller groups and talk to other SENCo’s.

We are looking forward to seeing you.

Please book you place by email:

Course code: LSAT 227

FREE webinar supporting our children in care in Key Stage 4 and Post 16 education through a pandemic

West Midlands Virtual Schools (WMVS) Children in Care Foundation is hosting a FREE webinar for designated teachers, social workers, personal advisors, carers, virtual school teams – anyone supporting our children in care in Key Stage 4 and Post 16 education through a pandemic.

Please download the flyer for further details and how to book on the webinar.

Download: West Midlands Virtual Schools (WMVS) Children in Care Online Conference Flyer.

All CPD courses running online until February Half Term 2021

Further details of all of our courses can be found in the CPD Booklet, available on the Telford Education Services website.  For the majority of courses bookings continue to be made in the normal way by completing a CPD booking form and sending it via email to

CPD Courses until February Half Term.
Teaching children with SEND - meeting the need (LSAT 508) Monday 25 January 2021 4pm to 5.30pm
Online Safety – a Safeguarding Responsibility (CPD 609) Tuesday 26 January 2021 4pm to 5.30pm
Ensuring the EAL provision provided by support staff in primary
schools to meet the needs of all pupils
(CPD 713)
Wednesday 27 January 2021 1.15pm to 4pm
Supporting SEND in the classroom - for newly qualified teachers (LSAT 502) Monday 1 February 2021

1.15pm to 4pm

Induction & NQT mentor network and update (CPD 516) Tuesday 2 February 2021 4pm to 5.30pm
The role of governors in effectively monitoring your school’s remote education offer Tuesday 2 February 2021 4.30pm to 5.30pm

Safer Recruitment Training
(this course should be booked via Human Resources)

Wednesday 3 February 2021 9am to 4.30pm
Preparing for Statutory Assessment at the End of KS2 (CPD 504) Wednesday 3 February 2021 9am to 12.30pm

Designated Safeguarding Leads Refresher (SG 107)
(this course must be booked via Ollie)

Thursday 4 February 2021 10am to 11.30am
Awareness Raising of Emotion Coaching (PSS 0041) Thursday 4 February 2021 4pm to 5.30pm
Preparing for Statutory Assessment at the End of KS2 (CPD 504) Thursday 4 February 2021 9am to 12.30pm
SENCO Network Meeting (LSAT 227) Thursday 4 February 2021 4pm to 5.30pm
Emotional Based School Refusal: Using applied psychological principles (EPS 203) Friday 5 February 2021 1.15pm to 4pm
SEND: Building Capacity in your school part 2 (LSAT 403) Tuesday 9 February 2021 3.45pm to 5.15pm
Teaching and delivering outstanding EAL provision for 'new to English'
pupils and advanced bilingual learners in primary schools
(CPD 712)
Tuesday 9 February 2021 1pm to 3.30pm
Newly Appointed Safeguarding Governor Induction Training (SG 103) Wednesday 10 February 2021 5pm to 7.30pm
Meeting the OFSTED requirements and developing reading strategies
for EAL learners at KS2
(CPD 714)
Wednesday 10 February 2021 3.30pm to 6pm
Understanding and managing your school budget (GO 508) Thursday 11 February 2021 9.15am to 12noon
Meeting the Statutory Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the EYFS (EY 009) Thursday 11 February 2021 4pm to 5.30pm

Sue Dyson
Traded Service Specialist
School Performance and Development

For bookings please email


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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