Notice: 2 March 2021

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

Included in this update

Director Update

Dear Colleagues,

On the noticeboard today there is a lot of information about Covid-19 testing(!).  Following further guidance from DoH (released last Saturday) about LFD asymptomatic testing the health protection hub have pulled together some information about where households can get test kits from.  For clarity schools are not expected to use their supply of testing kits to meet this new request for households to conduct asymptomatic testing where they have a child who attends an educational setting. 

Many thanks to all settings who have established routines for staff testing on site.  We are very grateful that this includes all staff, including catering and cleaners who make up your school communities.  More information about this is included in a bulletin below.

Information has been also released advising how staff working in mainstream education settings who will be directly working with children and young people deemed as clinically extremely vulnerable, can access the Covid-19 vaccination, please ensure to read the article and view the links to see if you or your staff would be eligible.

The Winter Covid Grant fund will soon be coming to an end and we would like to thank all schools and settings for their support. A few vouchers have still not been redeemed by families and we will be contacting them shortly to encourage them to redeem the vouchers.

I am sure that many of you would have heard by now that on Monday more than two thousand children in the borough were offered places at secondary schools, we are proud to say that in total 94.8% were offered a place at one of their preferred schools – this has been a great achievement!

Simon Wellman
Director: Education and Skills

Amended Risk Assessment for schools – 8 March 2021

Added: 3 March 2021

To help schools prepare for all pupils returning to school on 8 March 2021 we have prepared suggested amendments for you to enhance your existing schools risk assessment for COVID 19.

Much of the content in this attachment and government operational guidance for schools will be familiar to you, as it replicates what was in place for the autumn term and more recently the Spring 2021 term.

But specific changes include:

  • use of face coverings in classrooms for secondary age pupils and staff
  • current expectations for clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and staff

You should also:

  • review and where necessary, update your risk assessment
  • make sure you are following the system of controls to minimise the risk of infection,
  • Include a plan for asymptomatic testing
  • have a contingency plan in place for outbreaks in your school
  • communicate any changes in your processes to parents and unions

Implementing the system of controls, creates a safer environment for pupils and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. The way to control this virus is the same, even with the current new variants.  The strengthening of your new and existing control measures, will help provide more reassurance and help decrease disruption the virus causes within schools.

Download: Risk Assessment Amendments for schools 8 March 2021

Any issues or further advice needed on any of the above matters or H&S please contact or

Webinar on the full return to schools

Information from the Department for Education (DfE).

The DfE are hosting a webinar to provide primary, secondary and special schools, and alternative provision with an update on the full return of pupils to onsite teaching.

  • Thursday 4 March 2021 
  • 2.30pm and 3.45pm

View the booking page for the Return to schools webinar – Thursday 4 March 2021 at 2.30pm to 3.45pm

There will also be an opportunity to ask questions. This webinar is part of a series that we are hosting. A webinar on the rapid testing programme will be held on Friday 5 March 2021 – further details for accessing this event will be provided shortly.

If you are unable to join these webinars, they will be recorded and made available to watch shortly after.

Support for the Emotional Health of students returning to school

With all young people returning to school from 8 March 2021, there is a concern that the impact of the pandemic on the young people is that they may feel more stressed, lonely and worried. The resources and training identified here are in place to support staff in schools to help meet these needs.

Psychological First Aid

This is an online course, developed by Public Health England, it offers training on how to provide practical and emotional support to children and young people affected by emergencies or crisis situations.  Children and young people can be very resilient, but crises such as COVID-19 can severely impact their mental health. Getting the right support early on can help prevent problems occurring or worsening.

Those completing the training will be equipped to better identify those children that are in distress and provide support to help them feel safe, connected and able to take steps to help themselves during the pandemic or other crisis situations. It is free, takes about three hours to complete (split into three sessions that the learner can complete at their own pace) and no previous qualifications are required.

Psychological First Aid (PFA) is a globally recognised training programme designed to support people during or in the aftermath of a serious event. PHE has adapted this training for those supporting children and young people with advice from a range of experts, including NHS England, the Department for Education and British Red Cross and is being made available online by social learning platform, Future Learn.

Visit the FutureLearn website to view the CYP Psychological First Aid online course

Anna Freud Centre – 5 Steps to Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework – Promoting Wellbeing Seminar.

The Anna Freud Centre is hosting a free seminar for all education staff on Thursday 4 March 2021.

Book your free place:

Visit the booking page for the 5 Steps to Mental Health and Wellbeing: Promoting Wellbeing

The seminar is part of a series relating to their 5 Steps to Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework – a simple and practical whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. This seminar is focused on its Promoting Wellbeing step and will provide an overview from various mental health and education perspectives on the most effective methods of promoting wellbeing across a whole school or FE college community. It will include a keynote from PSHE Association’s CEO Jonathan Baggaley.

Visit the Anna Freud website to find out more about the 5 Steps to Mental Health and Wellbeing

Wellbeing for Education Return

Wellbeing for Education Return is a national programme, funded by the DfE and written by Mind Ed and the Anna Freud Centre. The programme aims to equip schools to support young people returning to school following lockdown.

The programme ran in Telford and Wrekin back in October 2020, however, the resources, including videos of the online seminars, are now available. This might be useful if your school missed the training in October 2020, or alternatively, you can use these resources to train additional members of staff.

MindEd Hub

Interim Approaches to Joint Working

Back in the summer term 2020, Telford and Wrekin were part of a pilot with the Anna Freud Centre on joint approaches to supporting young people with mental and emotional health needs. As a result of this, we developed a paper with a focus on baseline assessments of the emotional health of young people as they return to school. Whilst this has been shared previously, clearly it’s also now very pertinent for schools considering these needs.

Download: Assessing the Emotional Health of Young People

Vaccination for staff working in mainstream education settings (including nurseries, schools and FE providers) directly working with children and young people who are deemed as clinically extremely vulnerable

As previously explained the vaccination programme is being delivered in line with national guidance and is steered by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), closely managed by the government and the NHS.  The Local Government Association has recently published a briefing explaining the rationale behind the way that people are being prioritised to receive Covid-19 vaccinations and can be viewed here - Briefing – Vaccine Prioritisation | Local Government Association

In agreement with local providers some vaccinations have now been made available for the following staff in school.

Vaccination for staff working in mainstream education settings (including nurseries, schools and FE providers) directly working with children and young people who are deemed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Vaccinations are available for staff who work directly, face to face with children and young people who are deemed as clinically extremely vulnerable , where they have not received one already.  This is likely to include a child’s teacher(s), teaching assistant(s) or nursery practitioner(s). Children and young people who have been classed as CEV have been determined by the NHS and the Department of Health and Social Care and have received letters accordingly (either from their GP or health specialist).

Where you do have a child who is CEV we require information about the staff so we can put them forward for vaccination. 

Please email with the following information:

  1. Specify reason for request (i.e. Vaccination is being requested because of direct work with a child or young person who is CEV)
  2. Full name
  3. Role
  4. School
  5. Name and DOB of the CEV child or young person that they are supporting who is clinically extremely vulnerable

(It may be necessary to request additional information where the child specified is not on the CEV list that the Local Authority has received from our NHS partners).  

When information is received, within 48 hours, staff will be provided with a link to book their vaccine. Once they have received their vaccine, they will need to complete an online form to state they have had the vaccination.

Telford & Wrekin Staff Vaccination Data

Updated Guidance on Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and those over 28 weeks pregnant

Extended CEV group

We have had a number of queries about staff who are now being advised to shield as they have been categorised as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) recently and the staff member does not feel this should be the case, for example their health condition is historic.

If staff feel this is the case they are able to speak to their GP or Specialist about their concerns and the doctor will make a decision whether or not to remove the high risk flag on their medical record and therefore remove them from the National Shielded Patient List. It can take up to 2 weeks for this to take effect.

In the interim period we have developed a self-declaration pro forma that staff can sign to confirm this is the case (Declaration Form - Employee declaration to confirm removal from national shielded patient) This would mean that they are able to remain/return to working on site. However, it would be advisable for you to also complete an individual risk assessment for this member of staff and hold that with the declaration form.

We would advise that they speak to their Trade Union if they wish before signing this declaration.

Should they receive a letter to confirm they have been removed from the shielded list they should share this with you.

Over 28 weeks pregnant

As a local authority we currently treat this group of staff in the same way as those that are CEV in that they should not be working on site. Therefore, assuming that the shielding advice ends on the 31 March 2021 then these staff should be able to return to work to work on site from the 1 April if they wish to. This should be subject to an individual and maternity risk assessment which should be undertaken prior to their return.

Updated individual risk assessment

The individual risk assessment template has been updated (Appendix 3 Individual risk assessment for Potentially Vulnerable Employees - 26 February 2021) along with the associated guidance (Appendix 2 school guidance for higher risk groups 26 February 2021) the position above.

Available downloads:

As always please contact your named HR Advisor or the HR Helpdesk if you have any queries.

Test kits for primary schools and state-maintained nurseries

Information from the Department for Education (DfE).

Orders for additional home test kits for twice weekly testing of primary school and nursery staff can be made using the contact us form.

Further information on how to order additional test kits, and details on the national testing policy can be found on the primary schools and nurseries document sharing platform.

Private, voluntary and independent early years settings will receive test kits automatically in advance of Monday 22 March 2021. More details will follow shortly.

Test kit supplies for secondary schools and colleges

Information from the Department for Education (DfE).

Secondary schools and colleges will be receiving test kit deliveries over the coming weeks, as follows:

  • deliveries of lateral flow device (LFD) test kits for your staff to use at home began on Wednesday 24 February 2021 and will continue until Tuesday 2 March 2021. Please check the delivery schedule to see when your kits are scheduled for delivery.
  • deliveries of asymptomatic test site test kits for your pupils and students to use onsite will begin today and will continue until Friday 5 March 2021. The delivery schedule provides details on when you should expect your delivery and how much stock you will receive.
  • deliveries of lateral flow device (LFD) test kits for pupils and students to use at home will begin on Monday 8 March 2021. A delivery schedule for these kits will be published shortly.

Prior to ordering additional test kits, we ask that you review your current stock levels of asymptomatic test site test kits and the planned deliveries. You should already have sufficient stock for a maximum of 3 weeks of testing based on the size of your setting. If you still need to order additional test kits for on-site testing, they can be ordered through the contact us form which is now live for secondary schools and colleges.

Further information on how to order additional test kits, and details on the national testing policy can be found on the secondary schools and colleges document sharing platform.

Update to guidance on rapid testing in special schools and other specialist settings

The guidance on rapid asymptomatic testing in specialist settings has been updated to include information about home testing for staff, twice-weekly testing of secondary aged pupils, and changes for on-site testing through asymptomatic test sites.

Request for All staff working in schools to have access to Asymptomatic Testing 

It would be incredibly helpful for All staff working in maintained nurseries, primary schools and secondary schools 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.

Rapid lateral flow testing for households and bubbles of school pupils and staff

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus (COVID-19) do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to others. Regular testing of people without symptoms (asymptomatic testing) is important to help stop the virus spreading. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease, we all need to play our part to help protect each other.

On Sunday 28 February 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that from Monday 1 March 2021, households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, can test themselves twice every week at home as schools return from Monday 8 March 2021. Households, childcare and support bubbles of primary, secondary and college staff can also be tested. Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders. The twice-weekly test kits can be accessed:

Via employers if they offer testing to employees
Some employers may be offering lateral flow testing, please check with you employer to see if this option is available to you.
For example: If a member of a household works for a business offering Lateral Flow Testing then that business may provide the tests for that household member.

Take a test at a rapid lateral flow test site

You can have a rapid lateral flow test at a local site. Testing at these sites is assisted, which means you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator.

You may need to book an appointment.

Find your nearest rapid lateral flow test site.

In Telford & Wrekin there are three lateral flow test sites:

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

You can also have a test at the following local pharmacies:

  • J Hoots – Oakengates
  • Kitchings – Oakengates
  • Muxton Pharmacy – Muxton
  • Malinslee Pharmacy – Malinslee
  • Late Night Pharmacy – Newport
  • Anstice Pharmacy – Madeley
  • Priorslee Pharmacy – Priorslee
  • Lawley Pharmacy - Lawley

By collecting a home test kit from a PCR test site
You can collect up to 2 home test kits at a local collection point. Each kit contains 7 tests.
Collection points in Telford & Wrekin are located at the PCR testing centres, tests can be collected between 1.30pm and 7pm there is no need for an appointment you can just turn up.

Anyone 18 or over can collect. You can check online if the location is busy before you go.
Tests can be collected from any of the test centres shown on the NHS map (Find your nearest home test kit collection point).

Find your nearest home test kit collection point.

In Telford & Wrekin there are 5 PCR test sites.

Legges Way Car Park
Legges Way

Ironbridge Park and Ride
Off A4169

The Place Car Park
The Place
New Street
Please note: This is the Walk In Centre on the Car Park, not the rapid test centre at The Place.

Donnington Wood Bowling Club
School Road
Donnington (Telford)

Wrekin Road Car Park

By ordering a home test kit online.
If you cannot get tested at your workplace, or are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online.
Do not order online if you can get a test through other methods. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most.

Order rapid lateral flow home test kits

Schools should not give test kits to parents, carers or household members and should not order more test kits for this purpose. Information on where households can access testing will be made available for schools to share with parents and staff shortly.

Further information is included in the guidance.

Rapid lateral flow testing for households and bubbles of school pupils and staff

Government acts on council call to review testing provision for early years providers

Telford & Wrekin Council are pleased that following their appeal, the government will now provide access to asymptomatic home testing kits for early years providers.

The government has required early years providers to remain open to all children during the current lockdown.

During this time, providers have been accessing rapid testing for their staff through the borough’s rapid testing centres - council run locations and local pharmacies.

At the beginning of February this year, Cllr Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for children, young people, education and lifelong learning and council leader Shaun Davies wrote to the Education Secretary to raise concerns over lack of testing for early years’ staff.

They urged the Education Secretary to urgently ensure much needed at-home testing arrangements were available for early years’ staff, in line with the provisions already made for primary schools.

Following the council’s appeal, the government has now announced that rapid testing kits will be delivered to early year providers from next month.

They will be supplied with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits for their staff, so they can self-swab twice a week, with test results provided in 30 minutes.

Testing will help identify positive cases, particularly amongst those who may have the virus but do not have symptoms.

Councillor Shirley Reynolds, cabinet member for children, young people, education and lifelong learning, said: “We welcome the news that following our continuous lobbying, the government has finally decided to provide early years staff with home test kits.

“Our early years’ workforce will now be better protected against the virus and positive cases in our borough will be identified more quickly, helping to break the chain of transmission in the community.

“This should have been introduced earlier on, as early years settings remained open during lockdown. 

“Although we do have many rapid testing centres in the borough, having home-testing kits will enable early years’ staff to do the testing more conveniently in their own homes. This is finally aligned with the arrangements in schools and maintained nurseries.”

Private, voluntary and independent early years settings will receive test kits automatically in advance of Monday 22 March 2021. More details will follow shortly.

Updated guidance on the use of face coverings in education

Information from the Department for Education (DfE).

We have updated our guidance on the use of face coverings in education to align with the information on face coverings already published in our early years, schools and college guidance documents.

We recommend that in those settings where pupils and students in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms and during activities unless social distancing can be maintained. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons.

To support the return to full attendance and ensure compliance with the system of controls, DHSC is distributing ‘Type IIR’ masks to secondary schools and FE institutions. This supply is to be used by secondary schools and FE institutions as a contingency stock. Secondary schools and FE institutions should expect to receive a delivery of between 5,000 and 7,500 units by the end of the week commencing Monday 8 March 2021.

In primary schools, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible. Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering.

We are recommending these additional precautionary measures for a limited time during this period of high coronavirus (COVID-19) prevalence in the community. These measures will be reviewed at Easter.

Draft guidance for heads of centre, heads of department and teachers

Information from the Department for Education (DfE).
Published: 1 March 2020

Consultation on guidance on how to generate the evidence used to determine grades this summer.

As part of a consultation on our rules for awarding GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2021, we published (on Thursday 25 February 2021) draft guidance for heads of centre, heads of department and teachers on how to generate the evidence that will be used to determine their students’ grades this summer.

The grades submitted to exam boards must reflect a fair, reasonable and carefully considered judgement of the student’s performance across a range of evidence, on the curriculum content that they have been taught. Heads of centre should emphasise the need for judgements to be objective and fair. To promote this, exam boards will set out detailed quality assurance requirements.

We’d like views on this draft guidance from heads of centre, heads of department and teachers. You have until 23:45 on 11 March 2021 to respond to the consultation.

This is part of a technical consultation and necessary for us to set the rules so exams boards deliver and award qualifications in accordance with the latest policy decisions.

We are also seeking views on the proposed rules, and the proposed ‘information for centres about making objective judgements’. We are not seeking views on the underlying policy decisions, which we announced following our joint consultation with the Department for Education and explained in our analysis and decisions documents.

Awarding of functional skills in 2021

Information from the Department for Education (DfE).

Awarding organisations, colleges, training providers and schools have been working hard to offer functional skills assessments that are safe and convenient for learners throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The circumstances have meant that many learners who are ready to take their functional skills assessments have not yet been able to do so.

Following Ofsted’s joint consultation with the Department for Education, it has now been confirmed how functional skills assessments can be awarded.

Learners who are ready or waiting to take their functional skills assessment can do so now. They can do this through in-person or remote arrangements. Remote arrangements can refer to the use of remote assessment, remote invigilation, or both.

Learners should speak to their training provider, college or school about which options are offered by the awarding organisation that they are registered with. If the most appropriate option for the student is not offered by the awarding organisation, then it is possible to swap to another awarding organisation.

Department for Education (DfE) Schools Governance Update March 2021

The latest Department for Education (DfE) update for governors includes:

  • Message from the Minister
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance pages for schools and colleges
  • Nominate your board or governance professional for an Outstanding Governance Award
  • Updated school land guidance and forms
  • For maintained schools: update on School Financial Value Standard (SFVS)
  • Wellbeing for Education Return – new webinar and supporting resources for all education staff
  • NGA survey for clerks and governance professionals on careers and development.

Visit the GOV.UK website for the school governance update: March 2021

Winter COVID Grant fund

The winter grant project is now coming to an end and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our schools and Early Years providers for the work you have done to provide the data for the vouchers for eligible children and the referrals for the Winter coats and shoes.

Additional request for schools and Early Years providers

As you know, we sent the February half term vouchers out week commencing 8 February 2021 by email in the main, with a few vouchers and letters hand delivered where needed. Almost 80% of parents have now accessed their vouchers but we are keen to get the vouchers out to the families who need them and have not yet redeemed them.

This is where we have a final small ask for schools and Early Years providers to support the project. Next week we will be sending you a short list of children’s names (usually only 1 or 2) and voucher codes that need to be shared with the parents who have 1 child and have not yet redeemed the February half term voucher.

Where there are two or more children in the family and the vouchers have not been redeemed we will be emailing a reminder with the voucher code to parents in the week commencing 1 March 2021. If you have any queries from parents could you please ask them to check their spam/junk email folders for the voucher email in the first instance, and then direct them to email the email address so we can assist them.

More children than ever get place at one of their preferred secondary schools

Over two thousand children across the borough were offered places at secondary schools on Monday 1 March 2021, with more children than ever who applied on-time being offered a place at one of their preferred schools.

Monday 1 March 2021 – was National Offer Day, when children up and down the country learnt which secondary school they will attend for the 2021/2022 academic year.

In Telford and Wrekin, we received more secondary applications than ever before, and have offered more places at first preference schools compared to previous years.    

2222 applications were received on time and every applicant who applied was offered a school place.  

In total 94.8 per cent of applicants were offered a place at one of their preferred schools, with the remaining 5.8 per cent offered alternative places.

Of those, 1773 (79.8 per cent) received their first preference, 244 (11 per cent) their second preference and 63 (3 per cent) their third preference. 

Cllr Shirley Reynolds, Telford and Wrekin Council's cabinet member for Children, Young People, Education  & Lifelong Learning said: “The number of applications we’re receiving each year is increasing, and we’re working with our schools, to meet demand and parental preferences where possible.

“We’re continuing to provide more places through our commitment to expand secondary schools within the borough and have made sure that, once again, no-one who applies on-time is without a place. 

“We’ve also been able to offer nearly 95% of applicants one of their preferences”

Cllr Shirley Reynolds added: “Putting down only one school doesn’t increase your chances of getting in there, sadly it may increase your chances of disappointment. We strongly recommend that all families contact their local schools to discuss viewing arrangements and then use all four preferences on their application form.”

The application process for school places is now entirely online, meaning parents can view their results on offer day, rather than having to wait for a letter to be posted out to them.

Secondary School Preference 2020 and 2021 analysis.
Analysis 2020 2020 % 2021 2021 %
Total Number of Applications 2217   2222  
1st Preference Met 1762 79.5% 1773 79.8%
2nd Preference Met 204 9.2% 244 11%
3rd Preference Met 58 2.6% 63 3%
Any Preference Met 2045 92.2% 2094 94.8%
Alternative Offers 172   128  
No Offers 0 0% 0 0%

'No room for clichés' Apprenticeships and careers with the RAF: Free webinar

  • 8 March 2021
  • 2pm - 3.30pm

To mark International Women's Day on 8 March 2021, the Royal Air Force (RAF) in partnership with Amazing Apprenticeships will be running an exclusive free webinar for students in Years 10 - 13, to explore the incredible apprenticeship and career opportunities available for them.

Join us on 8 March 2021 at 2pm - 3.30pm to hear from Ambassadors and recruitment staff within different areas of the RAF. The webinar will include an engaging mix of presentations, interactive workshops and valuable Q&A opportunities with a panel of RAF Ambassadors.  

Download the Royal Air Force Recruitment Flyer

Places are limited on the day so we encourage you to book as soon as possible. All those registered will receive the recording after the live event.

Visit the booking page for is an RAF Apprenticeship for you? Free event

Royal air force logo


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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