Update for schools: 26 August 2020

This update contains a statement from the Leader of the Council issued yesterday, a reminder about risk assessments and declarations of conformity and much more.

New measures to keep rate of Covid infections reducing: Statement from Leader of the Council

Yesterday, Council Leader Cllr Ian Ward issued a statement that urged Birmingham residents to help get children back to school, while new measures to tackle business non-compliance were announced. https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/article/699/new_measures_to_keep_rate_of_covid_infections_reducing

Face Coverings in Education Guidance

You will be aware that last night the government changed its advice on face coverings in schools. Birmingham City Council will support any schools which decide it is right, based on their particular circumstances, to require face coverings in communal areas.  At present the level of cases in the city does not require schools to require coverings to be worn and decisions should therefore be made on a school by school basis.

Self-isolation when a household member develops symptoms

We are aware of some issues in early years settings where staff are attending their place of work despite living with someone with symptoms of Covid 19, going against government guidance.

All settings should regularly remind parents/staff of the government guidance on the importance of self-isolating if anyone in the household develops symptoms. Anyone (staff/pupil) whose household member develops symptoms, should not attend school or the early year setting, should self-isolate for 14 days from the onset of symptoms and follow the following steps:

  • Inform setting of the reason for absence i.e. household member is symptomatic
  • Household member with symptoms to arrange to be tested
  • If the household member’s test result is positive, 14 days isolation must be completed by all other household members
  • If the outcome of the test results is negative, the self-isolation ends for the household members provided they have not developed symptoms during the isolation period
  • If member of staff/pupil/ child who is self-isolating due to a positive household member develops symptoms during the isolation period, they should arrange to be tested and self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms

Public Health flowchart for schools

A reminder that the Public Health flowchart for schools is at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/downloads/download/3527/public_health_flowchart_for_schools.

Please ensure families are aware of how suspected cases will be dealt with and that they will be asked to collect their children and arrange for a test if they develop symptoms while at school.

Reminder: Community and voluntary controlled schools’ risk assessments

The council’s risk assessment document has continued to be updated over the summer in line with national or council updates. We hope you have found the risk assessment useful when you have been planning for  reopening. The latest version of the risk assessment template was published on 7th August 2020 and we suggest all schools review Section 19 in particular on contingency plans for a school outbreak or local lockdown.

Thank you to the community and voluntary controlled schools who have submitted their risk assessments to us. For those schools are yet to return a risk assessment, please ensure that the template is fully completed. Please ensure that for each risk the following is provided:

  • both a score and RAG rating for current and final risk rating (before and after control measures are in place), columns 2 and 6
  • identification of whether the control measures are in place e.g. Yes/No/NA, column 4
  • any additional comments, column 5

When submitted, risk assessments will be reviewed by our Safety Services team and feedback will be provided. Information on the scoring matrix is provided on p2-3 of the risk assessment.

For any further queries or to return your school’s completed risk assessment, please email edsi.enquiries@birmingham.gov.uk.

Reminder: Declaration of Conformity required from all schools and academies.

All schools (including academies) are required to submit a declaration of conformity to confirm that a risk assessment has been undertaken and an accompanying action plan is in place. Please find this declaration here. Please return this declaration to us (email to edsi.enquiries@birmingham.gov.uk) as soon as possible.

This declaration is also required from schools who have sent a completed risk assessment.

Transport for West Midlands toolkit

For the past couple of months, Transport for West Midlands have been working with transport operators, the Safer Travel Police Team, local authorities and other partners to look at the best ways of supporting young people to travel to and from school in September. Journeys back to school this year will be different. With social distancing measures in place, the number of people who can get on public transport is limited, which will affect parents, students and teachers’ when returning to school in September.

TfWM have created a toolkit to support schools when communicating with students and parents/guardians about their journeys and would like schools’ help to share the message. The toolkit can be downloaded from this link https://www.wmnetwork.co.uk/media/3517/back-to-school-toolkit_final.pdf

Regional Schools Commissioner: School leaders communication pack

The RSC has shared a communications pack with materials to help school leaders inform and reassure parents who are preparing for their children’s return to school. The pack includes leaflets, images and videos to share with parents on the importance of regular handwashing, advice on travelling to and from school and templates that can be tailored. Translated leaflets will be added in due course.

The pack is available on Dropbox and the assets and resources are available via the Public Health England communications resources hub.

They will update the pack as and when more content becomes available.

Parents are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school. This includes the latest update to the guidance for parents and carers on what they need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term.

Presentation to Primary Forum

It was good to see heads at Primary Forum this morning. For information, the presentation Lisa Fraser delivered is attached here.  

Reception year early language catch-up announcement

The Children’s Minister, Vicky Ford, has announced a reception year early language programme as part of the National Tutoring Programme in academic year 2020 to 2021. The Department for Education will be working with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and other partners to scale-up delivery of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI).

NELI is a high-quality, evidence-based, 20-week intervention designed to improve the language skills of reception age pupils. It involves scripted individual and small group language teaching sessions, delivered by trained school staff, usually teaching assistants. Several EEF trials have found that NELI improves both children’s oral language and early literacy skills. A recent trial of the programme found that children made on average three months of additional progress compared to children in the comparison group.

Further information about delivering NELI in 20/21, including FAQs, can be found on the EEF’s website. Schools have been invited to register their interest using this application form. All state funded schools with a reception class can apply but places are limited. If places are over-subscribed, schools will be prioritised based on their percentage of free school meals (FSM) eligibility.

If you have any questions, please email the team directly at contact.neli@education.gov.uk


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