Update for schools: 22 September 2020

This update contains information about risk assessments for external providers, a webinar on attendance, a briefing about mental wellbeing and more.

Risk assessments for catering and other external providers

It is very important that all schools make sure that their catering provider has provided a copy of their risk assessment. Schools must also assure themselves that the risk assessment is workable for their school. This also applies to any other external providers visiting the school site.

Webinar for schools on attendance

We will be holding a webinar for schools next Monday where information about managing attendance will be provided. Schools will also have the opportunity to ask questions. The session will be recorded and a link shared for those unable to attend. Please book places using the link below and a Microsoft Teams invite will be forwarded before the session.

Childcare during local lockdown

Schools will be aware that a letter was sent from the leaders of Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell councils to the Health Secretary regarding childcare in areas under local restrictions. Yesterday in Parliament, Health secretary Matt Hancock announced grandparents and others who provide informal childcare will be exempt from coronavirus restrictions in local lockdown areas.

This is confirmed at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1019/regulation/3/made where it states that ‘Where a household includes at least one child aged 13 or under (“the first household”), that household may link with one other household (“the second household”) for the purpose of the second household providing informal childcare to the child aged 13 or under in the first household provided that—

  1. neither the first household nor the second household are linked with any other household for the purpose of providing informal childcare for the purpose of these Regulations or any other Regulations made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984; and
  2. all the adult members of both households agree.’

Education wellbeing briefing for schools

To ensure that we effectively support the essential work you’re completing in schools, this term we have established a wellbeing task group. The group is comprised of senior practitioners from the Educational Psychology Service, Birmingham Educational Partnership and Home Bridging Team. Over the course of the autumn, they will be planning for and delivering on our key wellbeing priorities, which include:

  • Building ‘Wellbeing Networks’ that will include all schools across the city and help ensure the services we provide are attuned to local need.
  • Working with school staff who are acting as ‘Senior Leads for Mental Health’ – to include training and professional support.
  • Creating local wellbeing tool kits, made up of evidence-based interventions. These toolkits will make it easier for you to choose and implement programmes to meet the wellbeing needs of your students.
  • Expanding our Home Bridging team, so that children and young people with extended non-attendance at school are supported to make a successful return to learning.
  • Continuing to provide individual support to schools and listening to your views, as expressed at local briefings, through purposeful questionnaires and to the members of our teams who work directly with you in your schools.

Through these initiatives, we aim to achieve our strategic objective of building strong, local partnerships between schools and services so that all our children can thrive.

The attached briefing also contains information about return to school support, the government’s Wellbeing Return grant and our local wellbeing offer. We hope that these initiatives will not only help you support students as they return to learning but also enable children and young people to build resilience in the longer term.

Senior Leads for Mental Health: Briefing for headteachers

Please find a briefing for headteachers attached regarding Senior Leads for Mental Health. If you have not already done so, please identify a member of staff to act as a ‘Senior Lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing’ within your school or college. Once you have done so, please share their details with your link Educational Psychologist or email the Educational Psychology Service directly at Philippa.Hands@birmingham.gov.uk   

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Early Years Survey

A reminder that we are asking that all providers and schools with a nursery class complete the form every week by Wednesday evening at 7pm; and in addition any time you have changes to your setting. Once a school/setting reports that they are closed, they are not required to submit another return until they reopen. Please Note: Schools need only complete information relating to the nursery class. This applies to both the children and staff. Thank you to all of you who are regularly completing this survey.

A number of you have queried why we are still asking you to provide information on the number of critical worker and vulnerable children.  The DfE guidance for local authorities has covered this, and states: “We are continuing to ask about the number of critical worker children and vulnerable children because in the event of local lockdowns in an area at the highest level of restriction, only those children would be able to access childcare. In those circumstances, we would need a timely overview of the numbers of critical worker children and vulnerable children to help monitor sufficiency effectively.  We hope that this will not be too burdensome as settings will already have had to acquire this information for some of their children prior to 1 June; any new children’s parents can be asked if they are critical workers when their child joins the setting, as the setting would need to have this information to hand in the event of a local lockdown. We appreciate that this may require some additional work from settings in the first instance; but hope that once the basic information is there it will not need updating too frequently.”

We are required to report to the DfE on a weekly basis with the information contained within the survey so it is really important that it is completed regularly. The survey can be accessed using this link – Early Years Settings.  Any queries please contact EYDuty@birmingham.gov.uk. Thank you to all of you who are regularly completing this survey.

Public Health webinars

Thank you to those of you who attended this afternoon’s webinar with Public Health. A reminder that two further sessions will be taking place next week and places can be booked using the links below:

 


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