Notice: 26 January 2021

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

Included in this update:

Director update

Dear Colleagues,

DfE updates in the noticeboard include confirmation that schools will close as usual over February half-term and are not expected to remain open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers during that week.  Information is also included regarding school admission appeals, guidance on financial support and testing in both primary and secondary schools.

Allocation of laptops from the council/school/donation scheme has now started and schools will begin to receive laptops this week. IT services have requested that a message be shared regarding any donations you may receive and encourage use of the trade in scheme.  Further information is outlined in the article below.

To assist schools and settings who may have staff working from home, the Health & Safety team have included information about DSE assessments and safe working practices.

For our secondary and college colleagues please remember to take a look at the DfE consultation on arrangements for awarding grades for GCSE, AS and A-Levels this summer and on awarding arrangements for a range of vocational and technical qualifications. The consultation will consider the range of evidence that teachers use to award a grade. It is important that the consultation is shared as widely as possible as the DfE would like to hear the views of students, parent/carers, teachers, all schools (including mainstream and specialist), college leaders, further and higher education providers and future employers. The closing date for the consultation is Friday 29 January 2021.

Simon Wellman
Director: Education and Skills

February half-term

Information from the DfE

Schools will close as usual over February half-term and are not expected to remain open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers during that week.

Schools do not need to provide lunch parcels or vouchers during the February half-term. There is wider government support in place to support families and children outside of term-time through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme. The £170 million scheme is being run by local authorities in England, with at least 80% of the funding earmarked to support with food and essential utility costs and will cover the period to the end of March 2021. It will allow local authorities to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals over the winter period. Local authorities have local ties and knowledge, making them best placed to identify and help those children and families most in need.

Contact tracing over the February half-term

Schools continue to play an important role in contact tracing for those pupils and staff who continue to attend their school. We recognise the challenges of this responsibility during holidays. Given limited numbers on-site, we expect contact tracing activity to be reduced but this remains vitally important in the continued national effort to limit the spread of the virus.

Where pupils or staff still attending their school test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) during the holidays, having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, schools are not required to take any action. Staff, parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace. However, where pupils or staff still attending their school test positive having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, the school is asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school.

Staff responsible for contact tracing are not asked to be on-call at all times and may designate a limited period in the day to receive notification of positive cases and advise close contacts to self-isolate (this can be done by text or email).

Where schools can do so, staff assuming responsibility for contact tracing during half-term can be offered equivalent time off at an agreed point during term time.

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service will remain open over the February half-term to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Testing over half-term

Where schools are regularly testing staff, this does not need to take place during the holidays and can resume after the half-term.

Reminder: Don't forget to complete the Educational Settings Attendance Form

Please don't forget to complete the DfE by 2pm each day educational setting status form.

The information you provide through the form continues to support the government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Your data will help us build a national picture of educational provision, including attendance of vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers in school or college. This will enable us to focus support more effectively, help inform the government’s response and ensure children and young people are safe.

The DfE are asking you to provide information on:

  • the number of pupils or students and workforce on site
  • the number of pupils or students with a social worker or an education, health and care plan; children of critical workers; and eligible for free school meals
  • the provision for free school meals for pupils or students on site and those learning remotely
  • pupil or student absences due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Further guidance on completing the educational setting status form, and the full list of questions for schools and colleges, can be found in the guidance on recording attendance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Please provide your data by 2pm each working day.

If your school or college is closed for any reason other than a planned holiday (e.g. on public health advice due to coronavirus, for non-coronavirus reasons or a planned teacher training inset day), please continue to complete the form.

If you have any questions that are not answered by the guidance, please call the Department for Education’s coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on: 0800 046 8687.

Consultation on arrangements for awarding grades in summer 2021

Last Friday, the Department for Education and Ofqual launched joint consultations on arrangements for awarding grades for GCSE, AS and A levels this summer and on awarding arrangements for a range of vocational and technical qualifications. We are interested in your views on the consultation proposals, in particular, the equality impact assessment of the proposals.

The deadline for responses to both consultations 11:45pm on 29 January 2021.

Changes to school admission appeals due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information from the DfE

On 24 April 2020, we made changes to the way admission authorities (school governing bodies, local authorities and academy trusts, depending on the type of school) carried out admission appeals.

The new regulations temporarily amended the 2012 appeals regulations and gave admission authorities, local authorities and admission appeal panels more flexibility when dealing with appeals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We have now laid new regulations which extend the provisions detailed in the guidance until the 30 September 2021.

The new regulations come into force on 31 January 2021, subject to parliamentary procedure. We will update the guidance in due course.

Ofsted release of updated inspection data summary report (IDSR)

All performance-related data within the IDSR still relates to 2019. The Government announced that it will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for 2020.

The following has been updated:

  • contextual information based on the January 2020 census including pupil movement information
  • exclusions data has been updated to the final release of 2018/19
  • three term absence data release of 2018/19 data (postponed from April 2020)
  • final retention, completion and attainment 2019 key stage 5 data (postponed from May 2020)
  • latest destinations (key stages 4 and 5) data
  • latest school workforce census data
  • latest financial data.

Please ensure you download the latest version of your IDSR, which will have 22 January 2021 release date.

In addition to data updates, we have released some minor developments as a result of feedback and have published an updated HTML guidance document for the IDSR. This includes example reports, located here:

Guidance: School inspection data summery report (IDSR) guide

Guidance: 16-19:inspection data summery report (IDSR) guide

Update to the workforce planning tool for testing in schools

Information from the DfE

A revised workforce planning tool has been uploaded to the schools and colleges document sharing platform. Secondary schools and colleges are entitled to funding to support the establishment of test sites. They can use the updated planning tool to understand workforce requirements and to estimate the level of funding they will receive for this half term.

To ensure the most accurate costs incurred are captured we will be using the number of tests results recorded to calculate actual allocations. This will be measured by the number of test results you record on your individual school or college account on the NHS Test & Trace log results website.

Guidance for staff testing in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools

Information from the DfE

Primary schools (including school-based nurseries) should expect to receive a delivery of home testing kits either this week or in the first half of next week. If you have not received your delivery by Wednesday 27 January 2021, please complete this contact form. You will need the URN for your school to complete this form. We are planning to begin deliveries to maintained nursery schools from week commencing 1 February 2021.

Primary schools will receive enough testing kits to allow staff to self-test at home twice weekly for 3.5 weeks. We will replenish stocks every 3 weeks.

Testing kits come in individual boxes of 7 and each staff member should receive one of these boxes. There will be 54 boxes of 7 (378 tests in total) in each large carton. New instructions for use will arrive in a separate package.

We have now published guidance for testing primary, school-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff to support you with this. Further information, guidance and resources to support rapid testing are now available on the primary schools document sharing platform. Home testing of staff in primary schools (including school-based nurseries) can begin from week commencing Monday 25 January 2021 once schools have received and distributed kits to staff.

A template risk assessment has been produced by the Health and Safety team (Telford & Wrekin), this is available to download from the Education Noticeboard: 21 January 2021.

Twice weekly testing for staff in secondary schools and colleges

Information from the DfE

Rapid testing remains a vital part of our plan to supress this virus. The use of rapid lateral flow tests is already proving beneficial in finding people with coronavirus (COVID-19) before they develop symptoms. We will therefore also be encouraging schools and colleges to increase regular testing of staff to twice weekly as further reassurance and to break chains of transmission during this period. Our guidance for secondary schools and colleges will be updated shortly.

Secondary schools are only expected to test students twice upon their return to school.

LFT testing of staff that have previously been COVID positive

PHE have now changed their advice regarding staff in schools taking the LFT test even where they have previously tested COVID positive.  They are now asking all staff to take the LFT regardless of whether they have tested positive within 90 days prior to taking the test.  On your behalf we have raised the potential issue of a further squeeze in workforce, as an impact of this change in position, with the DfE.  Currently any staff member who tests positive by LFT needs to take a confirmatory PCR.  They should follow the self-isolation guidance as should any identified contacts.

Spring Term Funding for Early Years Providers

We thought it would be useful to clarify and confirm the basis on which we will fund settings for the free entitlements this term.

The amount that we have available for funding is based upon this week’s (Thursday 21 January 2021) census.  The DfE have issued guidance around this as follows:

“…where a child is reasonably expected to attend Early Years provision, and that provision is made available to them by the provider, their expected hours should be recorded in the Early Years Census. This means children who, were it not for the impact of coronavirus on either their own personal circumstances or on the operation of their Early Years setting, would be attending Early Years provision. This includes children who have previously attended the provision and children who were expected to start attending the provision in January.”

We will fund settings based on the same principles, i.e. not just those children actually attending but all children “who, were it not for the impact of coronavirus…. would be attending early years provision”.

Please note that the DfE guidance also states that “Where a provider is counting a child on the census, the place must be genuinely ‘available’: this means a provider must not count a child where they have furloughed the staff who would be required to deliver the child’s place.”  Again, in line with the DfE’s funding principles, we will not fund settings for these children.

Early years census 2021: guide - GOV.UK (

Allocation of laptops via the new council/school/donation led scheme

For schools who have submitted their survey about access to devices you will have received communication letting you know how many laptops we are able to allocate to you, at this point.  Please confirm as soon as possible that you would like to take up the offer at a cost of £100 per unit. We are able to start building laptops this weekend for distribution to you early next week where we receive your confirmation.  For those who don’t need to take up the offer we can redistribute to others. For those who have yet to submit their survey please do so as soon as possible so we can send confirmation of your allocation. 

Access to devices at home survey – Primary Schools

Access to devices at home survey – Secondary Schools

Education Noticeboard: 19 January 2021

We have been informed that some schools have received donations of laptops directly, these have been rebuilt and added to the Telford & Wrekin network. We would request that donated laptops with no warranty and an unknown history are not added to the Telford & Wrekin network. Please can we encourage schools to use the trade in scheme, any laptops received directly by the school can be collected by completing the form below. Schools will then receive new laptops that are covered by a warranty for their students to use.

Trade in Scheme – Collection Form

In addition, we have been advised by the DfE for you to request further devices from them directly.  During our conversation with the DfE yesterday it felt as though there may be a small window of opportunity for schools to request more via Get help with technology - GOV.UK (  You now all have access to the DfE site to make your own request, as they won’t let the LA do this for you now.  I do think it is worth a go - just to see if any additional devices can be received via that route.

Get help with remote education webinar – Wednesday 27 January 2021

Information from the DfE

Together with a selection of primary and secondary schools, the DfE will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 27 January 2021 at 4pm to provide support to school leaders in delivering remote education.

This event will last for 2 hours and is free to attend. It will focus on how to develop your remote education strategy to support remote teaching and learning.
Find out more about the event and book your place.

Get help with remote education

Information, guidance and support for teachers and leaders on educating pupils and students during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Review your remote education provision
A framework has been produced to help schools and colleges identify the strengths and areas for improvement in their remote education provision. It provides links to guidance and resources to help you improve any areas identified.

Statutory obligations and expectations
Updated 8 January
Information for schools and further education (FE) colleges on expectations and how to comply with legal responsibilities when pupils and students cannot come into school or college due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Safeguarding procedures schools and FE colleges must follow when teaching remotely and planning remote education strategies.

Good teaching practice and resources
Remote education resources, including lessons from Oak National Academy, as well as guidance, subject-specific lesson plans and webinars on teaching remotely.

Get help with technology
Information for local authorities, academy trusts and schools about the devices, internet access and support available to provide remote education and access to children’s social care during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Supporting pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
Updated 6 January
How to support pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and write contingency plans for remote education.

Support for recovery and catch-up
Support to stop pupils and students falling behind, including the school-to-school support programme, the £650 million catch-up premium funding and in-school support through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP).

Remote education research
Published 25 January 2021
Ofsted's summary of findings on remote learning from several strands of research activity into remote learning that we carried out in 2020.

Information for Parents – What remote education should look like?
Information for parent/carers on remote learning, including FAQ’s on:
What can I expect remote education to look like?

  • What can I expect remote education to look like in colleges and other FE providers?
  • Our family does not have access to a laptop and/or the internet, can my child still learn remotely?
  • Will my child’s school provide us with a laptop for my child’s remote learning needs?
  • Who will receive these devices?
  • My child is 17, can they receive remote education support?
  • What about if I do not have broadband access in my home to access remote learning for my child?
  • What else is the department doing to help my child catch up on the education they may have missed during the pandemic?

Health and Safety - Working from Home

This guidance has been updated to take account of the extended working from home arrangements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Temporary working from home will be extended so it’s important that our employees are set up with suitable equipment and information so they can be comfortable, healthy, safe and DSE-compliant.

Download: Working from home (temporary) schools

If you have any further enquiries about Health and Safety please contact: or

PPE Portal for Special Schools and Specialist post-16 institutions

SEND Newsflash: 22 January 2021

On 19 January Special Schools and Special Post-16 Institutions (SPIs) across England received an email invitation to register with the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC’s) PPE Portal. Using the PPE Portal Special Schools and SPIs can place a weekly order of PPE (free of charge) to meet their Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE needs. Residential Special Schools and Residential Post-16 Institutions will have already received an email invitation in August 2020.

This source of PPE (via the PPE portal) is solely for Coronavirus (COVID-19) requirements as outlined in the our guidance: Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and should not be repurposed for any other use. As per this guidance, Coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE requirements are limited to PPE use in the following scenarios:

  1. when dealing with a child or individual who is symptomatic (and a distance of two metres cannot be maintained), and
  2. when performing aerosol generating procedures (AGPs).

DHSC advise that schools are still required to supply their own PPE (from their usual supply channels) for any other purpose.

Special schools and special post-16 institutions should have received the email invitation from: It has been sent to the email address which your setting has registered with the Get Information About Schools database. This is the only email address which is eligible to register. Please ensure that you have checked your junk folder. If you have not received the email invitation, please contact the Customer Service team at 0800 876 6802 who will be able to help support you in registering with the portal. Please wait until close of play on Wednesday, 27 January before enquiring about not receiving an email invitation. To confirm the eligibility of the setting you will need to provide the setting’s URN (you can check the URN at Get information about schools on GOV.UK ).

Free Webinar: Developing Personal & Social Skills for Young People & Adults with SEND

Transitioning from childhood to adulthood is a difficult time, particularly for those with an intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, mental health issues or those with emotional and behavioural difficulties. This webinar will explore ways to equip young people with the personal and social skills needed to make this transition.

  • Tuesday 9 February 2021
  • 3.30pm

Speaker: Sue Sutton 
45-minute presentation, followed by 15-minute Q&A

Register for the webinar

Supporting SEND in the Classroom – for newly qualified teachers

  • Monday 1 February 2021
  • 1.15pm-4pm
  • Microsoft Teams

This course is to support teachers with delivering quality first teaching to all children, including those with SEND. It will include strategies and techniques that can be used on a lesson by lesson basis.

Newly Qualified Teachers will be able to understand the needs of SEND in the classroom and how to support these needs effectively.

Course Code: LSAT 502

Suitable for: NQT’s, new teachers, returning teachers

Book your place:

Book on Ollie

SEND Building Capacity in your school

Part One

  • Tuesday 9 February 2021
  • 1pm-4pm

Part Two

  • Wednesday 11 March 2021
  • 1pm-4pm

It is essential for any school to have a consistent approach across the whole staff in supporting children with special needs. This course will give you the opportunity to develop ways of sharing skills and building the knowledge base of all professionals within your setting. This will involve exploring the use of joint working and cleverly directed support from senior leaders, and identifying how this can lead to whole school professional development and build continuing capacity for a skilled workforce. The course is particularly significant in developing the leadership skills of SENCOs. The strategies and ideas within the session will also support ways of managing workload and improve the impact a SENCO can have within a short space of time.

Key outcomes:

  • gain an understanding of how best to support the wider school team in their approach to SEN
  • understand the principles behind building capacity within the school, and how joint working between staff can impact on whole school development

Target Audience: SENCo’s, senior leaders, SEND Governors

Course code: LSAT 403

Book your place:

Book on Ollie

My Options Lockdown Statement

My Options Young People’s Services continue to follow Government and Public Health England guidance in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic and changing lockdown restrictions, so we can ensure the safety of our customers and staff in the activities the service provides

Telford & Wrekin Council will continue to work with families who have significant needs through their allocated Case Workers or Social Workers. The guidelines and advice remain in place about minimising contacts and social distancing, and in addition, the Council’s Public Health team are also advising against providing care and support in a group setting.

Therefore, Telford & Wrekin will not be able to offer the usual Sports & Leisure, Arts and Youth Club activities due to the current restrictions.

We will however, continue to be able to offer our My Options, Young People’s Services, PA service where we can support at 1:1 or a 2:1 basis.

Telford & Wrekin Council understand that many families many find this lockdown period challenging. If you find yourself in this position please contact your allocated worker from the Children with Disabilities Team. If you do not have an allocated worker, contact Family Connect on 01952 385383.

We remain committed to supporting children and families. We thank families for their continued understanding of the complexities and that provisions have to be based on a social care needs led risk assessment. 

My Options Website

If you or someone you know would like to find out more about My Options and our wide range of services, our friendly team are waiting and available to help.
Please contact us by telephone on 01952 381317 or you can email us at

Ensuring the English as an Additional Language (EAL) provision is provided by support staff in Primary Schools to meet the needs of all pupils

  • Wednesday 27 January 2021
  • 1.15p.m. - 4p.m.
  • Microsoft Teams.

English as an Additional Language (EAL) coordinators are aware of the ever increasing gap in learning that EAL pupils are developing due to lockdown. 
The session will provide an opportunity for participants to:

  • meeting the needs of pupils new to English and/ or newly arrived in the UK, as well as the continuing needs of those at later stages of learning English as an Additional Language
  • share classroom strategies that will enable new arrivals and advanced Bilingual/ Multilingual learners to access the curriculum at their level, with a focus on effective classroom teaching and learning strategies - including effective use of translation, differentiation, use of bilingual staff and resources - to ensure learning for both New Arrivals and Advanced Bilingual /Multilingual learners in the same classroom as well as targeted support
  • Look at the new technology to support the in class and remote learning of EAL pupils

Delegates will improve their understanding of:

  • how they can support the induction and inclusion of pupils who are new to English and/or new to the UK
  • the process of learning an additional language
  • effective ways to support EAL learners and promote their access to the curriculum
  • activities and resources for remote learning, in class and interventions

Download: EAL for Primary Support Staff – Full Course Details

If you would like to attend or express an interest in the training, please contact the MDT team.

To book a place on the training course through Telford Education Services.

MDT support for individual schools to deliver quality bespoke CPD is available upon request.


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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