Notice: 4 February 2021

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

Included in this update:

Director update

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you to all the schools that have tagged us into their social media posts for Children’s Mental Health Week.  It has been rewarding to see the creative activities that children and young people have engaged in, both in school and whilst at home during their remote learning.

Please be advised the deadline is drawing near for the Big Winter Coat project, if you have any families that you feel qualify for this support please do complete the application form.

Loudmouth Education and Training have received funding to offer subsidised sessions of their Helping Hands programme for year 5 during the summer term. This programme explores sensitive topics in a safe and appropriate way, please take a look at the article to find out about the project.

Best wishes,


Simon Wellman
Director: Education and Skills

Good News Stories

Take a look at some of the activities schools and settings have been up to this week, thank you for tagging @TelfordWrekin in your posts.

Old Park Primary – Have been busy making snowmen!

Children’s Mental Health Week

Apley Wood Primary – Base 5 have used colours and patterns to express their feelings.

Redhill Primary – have been celebrating Inside Out Day.

HLC Primary – take a look at the Mindfulness display that’s been created.

If you would like your school or setting to be featured on the Noticeboard or if your students have been taking part in an exciting project, please tag in @TelfordWrekin on social media and we will share your post.
Alternatively, you can email the full story to

Asymptomatic Testing in Schools (including Maintained Nurseries) for all Staff

It would be incredibly helpful for all staff in schools (including maintained nurseries) to have access to your LFT testing arrangements; this would include catering, cleaning and caretaking staff etc. The rationale here is that we have had experience of colleagues in those teams testing Covid positive which has the potential to cause school closures. The availability of testing for all will really help to prevent this from occurring.

Updated guidance on asymptomatic testing in specialist settings

Information from the Department for Education (DfE)

We have updated our guidance on mass asymptomatic testing in specialist settings to provide further information following the recent statement made by Public Health England to pause daily contact testing in schools and colleges, except for those taking part in the evaluation.

This update also provides further guidance on the different approaches to testing for pupils and students who may require additional support or reasonable adjustments.

Number of rapid test sites grows in Telford and Wrekin

Two new council run sites offering pre-booked COVID-19 rapid tests are set to open in Madeley at The Anstice on 2 February and in Newport at Cosy Hall on 3 February.

Several pharmacies are also offering rapid tests across Telford and Wrekin with more set to open in the coming weeks.

People can book rapid tests online at each of these sites and results will be available in 20-30 minutes. 

The rapid, lateral flow tests are available to residents who do not have any symptoms, those aged 11 years and over can book at a pharmacy and those over 16 can book at a council run site.

Telford and Wrekin Council are encouraging those who can’t avoid leaving home for work to get a rapid test every 3-5 days.

Rapid testing aims to identify asymptomatic people with COVID-19, as finding more positive cases will break the chains of transmission and enable a quicker return to normal life.

These new sites are in addition to the existing rapid test site at The Place in Oakengates, making tests more accessible for people in the borough.

The rapid test involves you taking your own throat and nose swab and passing it to a testing operative, who will process the results.

The sites at pharmacies are part of a national scheme and is being delivered by a number of community pharmacies in the borough.

Liz Noakes, Telford and Wrekin’s Director for Public Health, said: “One in three people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but they still can be infectious. 

“Testing people without symptoms will help us to identify and disrupt the chain of infection. 

“It might seem odd to get a test when you feel well, but the earlier we can find positive cases the quicker we get people into isolation to prevent the spread of this virus.

“Those who can’t avoid leaving home for work should get a test every 3-5 days, especially if they are in contact with more vulnerable people.”

Andy Burford, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: ”Making these lateral flow tests more available to residents is just one element in the fight against coronavirus, we must continue to do the essential – staying home, wearing a face covering, washing hands, and keeping 2m distance.

“Even if you test negative one day, you can still contract the virus at a later date. If you show signs of any of the main symptoms, you must get a full COVID test at one of our four test centres.”

To find out which pharmacies are taking part or to book a test at a pharmacy just search rapid test Telford.

Find out which pharmacies are taking part

Anyone displaying any of the symptoms of coronavirus - a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change to their sense of smell – must book a standard Coronavirus test at

For further information about testing, please take a look on Telford & Wrekin Council’s website.

Getting a COVID-19 test in Telford and Wrekin

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

As described above, more rapid testing sites are now available in Telford and Wrekin for staff working in private, voluntary and independent nurseries (PVI’s) and childminders to book appointments.

Tests are now available to pre-book at:

  • The Place
  • Oakengates
  • The Anstice
  • Madeley
  • Cosy Hall
  • Newport

Follow the link below to book a test.

Book a rapid test online

Several pharmacies are also offering rapid tests across Telford and Wrekin with more set to open in the coming weeks.

Find out which pharmacies are taking part

COVID19 National Testing Programme: Funding for testing activity from 4 January 2021 until February half term

Rapid coronavirus testing of staff, pupils and students in secondary schools, special schools with secondary age pupils and colleges began in January 2021. Schools and colleges will receive funding to support them with costs they have incurred to conduct testing.

Schools and colleges will receive support for the costs associated with testing activity including:

  • Rapid one-off testing on return of all vulnerable students/pupils and children of critical workers attending educational settings. This assumes that all pupils/students will receive 2 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests, 3-5 days apart; and
  •  Weekly testing of staff up to twice a week.

Schools with secondary age pupils are eligible for this funding. The allocations will be calculated using the number of bays/desks calculated as needed to deliver the number of tests. The DfE will estimate the number of bays/desks a school/college would have required in order to complete the number of test results recorded, based on an average testing volume and then apply an average cost per bay. The DfE will take the number of test results for each school/college from the Test and Trace Log Results Website.

The average cost is based on DfE assumptions about the number of staff required. They have assumed that special schools and PRUs will need a higher number of staff than mainstream institutions.

The DfE have provided a workforce planning tool that also calculates an estimate for the amount of funding that will be provided: Workforce Planning Tool - Google Sheets

The ESFA will make these payments automaticallyThere will be no requirement to make a claim in order to receive the funding for Test and Trace reported testing.  For maintained schools, payments will be made to the LA and we will place it into your account using code R9003.

In exceptional circumstances the DfE will consider claims for additional funding over and above the formulaic amount described above.  These circumstances include school having to hire additional premises or significantly alter existing premises and costs incurred by schools that had assumed they would need to fully reopen this term (i.e. prior to the DfE’s announcement on 4 January that schools would only be open to vulnerable pupils and children of critical workers).

Details of how to claim for exceptional funding costs have not yet been published.

The DfE document on which this summary is based can be found here:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in schools and colleges: grant funding

Deadline for the Big Winter Coat Project

A huge thank you to those who have submitted referrals to the Big Winter Coat Project, so far we have supported hundreds of children with some lovely coats and shoes.  There is still time to make referrals, but please do so before the deadline of Friday 26 February 2021.

Here’s what you need to know before completing your referrals:

Who is eligible?

Any child 16 and under who has no winter coat or has no suitable shoes as the family are unable to afford these items. 

Who can apply?

Professionals working in schools and other professionals working with families.  We ask that you only refer families you have identified as needing this support as you have seen that a child doesn’t have these items of clothing. 

This scheme is targeted specifically to support families in line with the eligibility criteria above, as you see pupils regularly you will know which children require this support. 

How can I apply?

Once you’ve identified a child who needs these items of clothing speak to the family to ask if they are happy to be referred and let them know you will be sharing their personal details with us.  If they agree, complete the online form, you only need to complete one form per family. 

What next?

A member of our team will contact the family to find out what size coat and/or shoes they need and any preferences.  Our partner, The Anstice will order the coat and/or shoes and arrange for one of their volunteers to deliver it to the family address or if the child is attending school we will deliver to you. 

Make an application

Subsidised virtual safeguarding lessons for summer term from Loudmouth Education & Training

Loudmouth Education & Training have received funding from Telford & Wrekin Council to offer subsidised sessions of their Helping Hands programme for year 5 this summer term.

The programme looks at how to stay safe in their on and off-line relationships. Using the NSPCC’s PANTS rule, the Safe Team teaches how to recognise the feelings that may occur when you feel unsafe. Helping Hands explores sensitive topics focusing in on domestic abuse as well as child sexual abuse and exploitation in an appropriate, safe and gentle way.

The virtual session consists of

  1. a pre-recorded drama and character interview which is sent to you in advance to show to your class/es
  2. live streamed workshops with each class run by Loudmouth staff via Microsoft Teams.

Telford & Wrekin Council  have subsidised these sessions, so schools in their area only pay £3 per student.

Watch a short film about how the Helping Hands virtual sessions work.

Watch the video

Loudmouth has been working with children and young people to support them to be happy, safe and healthy since 1994.

With the rise of cases of child and domestic abuse during this pandemic, Loudmouth are hoping that many more local primaries will join the growing number that already taken on this vital programme.

Please contact or phone 0121 4464880.

Loudmouth Programme - Helping Hands

Talking Heads - Free resource on mental wellbeing and coronavirus for secondary school pupils.

The Good News is Telford & Wrekin Council’s Community Safety Partnership is funding Loudmouth’s Talking Heads programme.  Loudmouth have now adapted the programme on mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic into three EASY formats that secondary schools in Telford & Wrekin area are able to access free of charge until 15/3/21.

  1. The Home School format.

This is a pupil run pre-recorded online session that can be used on devices at home or in the classroom. All of the lesson is on a film accessed through the Word doc workbook.

  1. Live Learning format.

This is a teacher led session that can be used with students at home or in the classroom. It is run using PowerPoint via Teams or Zoom with links to the drama and evaluation plus a Word doc workbook for the students to fill in.

  1. Press & Play format.

This is a teacher led session that can be used with pupils in the classroom, face to face. The lesson is a pre-recorded video.

Access all 3 formats for free

Talking Heads looks at how to support positive mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus pandemic for Key Stages 3 – 5. This online pre-recorded lesson has been created specifically to support young people to have positive mental health during these strange times. The lesson helps students learn ways to spot signs of mental wellbeing concerns, strategies for positive mental wellbeing and where to go for support. 

 Talking Heads Online Trailer on Vimeo

All the formats contain a filmed drama and interview plus activities based on Loudmouth’s original successful theatre in education programme. There are extra lesson plans also provided.

The engaging and important resource is available to use for FREE from today until the 15 March 2021.

Virtual School Spring 2021 Network Meeting - Thursday 25 March 2021

For Designated Teachers and Nominated Governors of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children

We’re excited for you to join us at 4pm on Thursday 25 March 2021 (please note the change of date) for our Virtual School Spring 2021 Network Meeting for Designated Teachers and Nominated Governors of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children. Our main focus will be effective use of PPG+ to make a positive impact on our Looked After Children during the current restrictions, including useful examples and resources to support you on a daily basis.

You can book onto this course through the School Improvement Service – details of the course and booking form are located in the CPD brochure.

Please also find available to download a really useful free E-Book resource – ‘How to Stay Calm in a Global Pandemic’ which might be useful in supporting young people and their families.

Flash Academy free online training for staff to support English as an Additional Language (EAL) Pupils

Telford and Wrekin Interfaith Council have successfully obtained a grant from National Lottery funding to support Vulnerable pupils, in particular, those with English as an Additional Language (EAL), through the use of Flash academy. It is an online EAL learning platform to support language development.

It can be much harder to identify students learning needs and those with special educational needs if they don't have English as their first language. How can we establish which pupils need extra provision, and how can teachers support them despite a language barrier, especially during school closures?

There is a free webinar from 3.30 to 4.30pm on Thursday 11 February 2021, hosted by Flash academy which is free for all staff to attend. Please click the link below to register yourself or a staff member.

Free Webinar: EAL and SEN - FlashAcademy

The Interfaith Council are working with the Multicultural Development Team (MDT), Attendance Support Team (AST) and the Educational Psychology service to fund Free support for schools who have pupils NOT attending school due to Covid-19 fears or have shielding/BAME attendance issues. This support can include free flash login for pupils.

If you would like more advice and support for your pupils, or would like to access the free MDT support on offer, please contact MDT for more information.

For more information please contact us by email at:

MDT Website

Top Tips for Teachers using Microsoft Teams with Sensory Impaired Children

1. The Sensory Inclusion Service (SIS) are here to support you

Make use of your Teacher of the Deaf or Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired. They can advise you about how best to support the needs of the Hearing Impaired pupil, Visually Impaired pupil, or pupil with a Multi-Sensory Impairment in your class.

2. Send lesson materials in advance

Sending copies of PowerPoints (or other lesson resources) to pupils before the lesson will enable them to look at the resource before the lesson and have it in front of them when the teacher is talking. This will also mean that:

  • The Hearing Impaired pupil can focus on the teacher’s face so that they can lip-read. Listening to a live voice via audio or a recorded voice is very challenging for a child with a hearing loss. They can also have access to the content of the resource and any unfamiliar or new language prior to the lesson.
  • The Visually Impaired pupil will have been able to look at the resource prior to the lesson and enlarge it if needed to their preferred size. It is also easier for them to read when they have a copy of the text in front of them, rather than when the resource is shared through Teams.

3. Keep your video on and use the ‘spotlight’ function.

It is really important for children with a Sensory Impairment to be able to see their teacher’s face during lessons. Do you know how to use Spotlighting on Teams? As a teacher, you can ‘Spotlight’ yourself, meaning that your spotlighted video becomes the main screen that every participant sees. For a guide about how to use this feature, please see below.

4. Good Practice for how to set yourself up for a Teams session:

  • Ideally have a blank wall behind you (or at least an uncluttered background).
  • Blurred backgrounds make it difficult for the child to see your hands/physical items that you are working with.
  • Avoid natural light, especially coming from behind you (as this can obscure your face).
  • Ensure all other participants are muted (if someone wants to talk they can ‘raise [their] hand’.
  • Limit background noise in your environment (there is also a background noise reduction function available in ‘settings’ before you join the call)
  • For more information on how to use this feature, please download the Top Tips for Microsoft Teams from the Sensory Inclusion Service (SIS).

Download: Top Tips for Microsoft Teams from the Sensory Inclusion Service (SIS)

Some other considerations when using Teams:

If sound is needed when sharing a video clip for the class to watch, make sure that you ‘include computer sound’ before sharing the file. When you click on ‘share content’, this option is found above the documents that you are going to share. Any files with audio should have sub-titles for Hearing Impaired pupils. 

The chat feature in Teams can be very challenging for Visually Impaired pupils to access. Hearing Impaired pupils may prefer to use the chat feature to let the teacher know if they cannot hear/cannot follow what the teacher is saying etc.

It may be possible for IT to change the settings so that sessions can become more collaborative. School IT administrators may be able to help if you have specific issues, for example if you are not able to share documents or get the child to ‘request control’ to work on a document together. Children could work on a document at the same time as a staff member when working 1:1 or in a small group.

There are many features to use on Teams. If you would like more advice and support, please contact SIS or your Teacher of the Deaf/Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired directly.

Email -

By phone - 01952 385269

SEND Local Offer

Creative approaches and new ideas for sharing stories within the Early Years Foundation Stage CPD  led by Sally Tongue

  • Tuesday 23 February 2021
  • 4.00pm until 5.30pm
  • via Microsoft Teams

Is it time to reflect and review your story telling techniques?
It is important that all staff working in the Early Years Foundation Stage are confident to read stories that engage children effectively.

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!

To book a place on this course please see  the CPD booklet, Telford Education Services Website

Course code EY301

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 up to February Half Term

Safer Recruitment Training
part 2 (this course should be booked via Human Resources)

Monday 8 February 2021 9am to 12.30pm
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
Raising Awareness of Prevent (SG 101) Thursday 11 February 2021 1pm to 2.30pm
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.

Recent posts