Update for schools: 13 July 2020

This update includes a safeguarding checklist for Out of School settings, return to school travel advice and the recording of the seminar with Deb Jenkins, HMI.

Principles and good practice for effective distance learning – a seminar with Deb Jenkins, HMI

Thank you to those who attended this afternoon’s seminar. The slides that were presented and accompanying notes are available at this link. The recording of the session can be accessed via this link.

Out of School Settings Safeguarding Checklist

The checklist available at this link covers the majority but not all the procedures and practices needed to be put in place and understood by all Out of School Settings in Birmingham. It is expected that a robust risk assessment has been undertaken and is reviewed regularly. We have taken the majority of the content from the Government guidance – ‘protective measures for Out of School Settings during Coronavirus’ and adapted the guidance into this checklist for ease of understanding and application. For the full guidance please follow the link which will be at the foot of this checklist.

Return to school travel advice

We appreciate that the return to school in September will be under very different circumstances. With greater numbers of pupils returning to schools, available space needs to be used effectively to ensure everyone can get around safely. Walking and cycling will play a vital role in ensuring that pupils are able to attend classes safely, helping to make space for those who have no alternative but to use public transport.

The transport network will play a key role in supporting a safe and sustainable recovery for Birmingham. Working alongside our partners at Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), and bus operators including National Express West Midlands, safety is the number one priority. Whilst capacity on public transport is currently reduced to enable social distancing, everyone is working hard to increase this and to provide a safe transport network for those people who need to use it. TfWM have created a series of informative videos, about how to use the public transport network safely: 

These videos as well as lesson plans, updated advice from TfWM around school travel, and travel tickets for young people will all shortly be available at: www.wmnetwork.co.uk/schooltravel.

National Express West Midlands have extensive and rigorous risk assessments in place, including an enhanced cleaning regime across their services. In order to increase capacity additional vehicles are being added to the network. With increased frequency and coverage in order to match demand in particular locations, it is envisaged that the network will be able to carry the vast majority of pupils safely. National Express would urge all schools to get in touch asap in order understand how their bus services can best serve them. Please email: patrick.bevan@nationalexpress.com

Birmingham City Council is working to rapidly create extra space across the city through the Emergency Transport Plan. A number of changes, including new cycle lanes and pavement widening are already in place with more schemes to follow soon.

To support schools to plan for increased attendance and create extra space where needed outside schools, we can consider the introduction of emergency school streets measures such as temporary Car Free School Streets, and parking restrictions. If you feel that your school could benefit from any temporary/emergency measures please email: connected@birmingham.gov.uk.

A risk assessment around the journey to and from school has been provided. In addition to this, further guidance has been produced related to social distancing at the school gate.

Schools, parents and guardians can also help to enable social distancing by carefully considering how pupils will get to school and making changes to how schools operate where necessary. In the West Midlands, the average journey to secondary school is 1.1 miles which can be walked in around 20 minutes and cycled in even less.  For primary school pupils, this is much shorter at only 0.3 miles. Whilst a significant percentage of these journeys are already walked or cycled, there is potential for even more to be made by these means, for pupils of all ages.

Further advice includes:

  • Take part in Modeshift STARS, which inspires the whole school community to travel sustainably, actively, responsibly and safely by championing walking, scooting and cycling. The latest newsletter with further support and opportunities can be found here.
  • Carry out school travel surveys with parents on their typical routes to school and potential alternatives. Please contact connected@birmingham.gov.uk for further advice.
  • Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity, are supporting us with a short survey looking at how children and their parents/carers travel to and from school. Respondents could win a bike and accessories worth up to £400 (survey closes midnight, Sunday 19 July)
  • School crossing patrol sites: stand further away from the patrol and wait for instruction to cross. Be aware that the warden may be operating from the other side of the crossing, which children and parents are not normally used to. Remind children not to make any physical contact with their lollipop person e.g. handshake/high five.
  • Reduce the frequency of, or retime, deliveries and servicing trips of suppliers.
  • Public transport: if there is no other option but to use public transport, plan journeys to avoid using busy interchanges where possible and checking https://journeyplanner.networkwestmidlands.com/ which has up to date advice and information. Also:
    • Where many pupils take the bus consider staggering start and finish times to help take the pressure off peak travel times. Pupils should walk and cycle wherever possible to create extra space on buses and other public transport for those who have no alternative
    • Consider how pupils are grouped together on transport, which should (wherever possible) reflect the bubbles that are adopted within school
    • Ask pupils, parents and guardians using public transport, or taxi and private hire services, to use a facial covering (over the age of 11), carry a hand sanitiser and wash their hands before and after they travel
    • Adopt organised queuing and boarding where possible
    • Keep distance within vehicles wherever possible.

For further information regarding home to school SEND travel please email: TravelAssist@birmingham.gov.uk

For information and resources regarding safer travel email: Paula.Shortland@tfwm.org.uk

For further general information about cycling and walking in the region visit: https://www.networkwestmidlands.com/campaigns/roll-stroll/

For national governance guidance please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

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