News Update – October 2020

As we get closer to half-term, I am sure that you are all looking forward to a well-earned break. This half term has been very tough and extremely challenging and I congratulate you all on your perseverance and commitment to supporting the children and young people in your schools and colleges.

There have been a significant number of documents circulated during the last few weeks. I have brought them all together in case you missed any of them.

Behaviour and discipline in schools – Updated 2nd September

This advice for schools on their behaviour policy and checklists and resources to support full school opening during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been updated with links to further guidance and resources.

Schools begin teaching reformed Early Years Foundation Stage – Press Release – 3rd September

This press release announces that new guidance has been published to support delivery of the revised EYFS framework, focused on improving outcomes for every child.

Early adopter schools: EYFS framework – Updated 3rd September

The early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to 5. This updated version has the ‘New Development Matters: non statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage’. Even if your school is not adopting the new EYFS Framework until 2021 it is a good idea for your EYFS staff to look at this.

Service pupil premium (SPP): information for schools – Updated 3rd September

The guidance on how much Service pupil premium (SPP) funding schools get, and details of which children attract the funding has been updated. State schools, academies and free schools in England, which have children of service families in school years reception to year 11, can receive the SPP funding. It is designed to assist the school in providing the additional support that these children may need and is currently worth £310 per service child who meets the eligibility criteria.

Key stage 1: administering the phonics screening check to year 2 pupils – 7th September

This guidance is for schools administering the phonics screening check to year 2 pupils during the second half of the 2020 autumn term.

Use this information to:

  • understand your statutory requirements relating to the phonics screening check
  • plan for the check
  • administer the check
  • submit your school’s check results

Phonics Screening Check materials:




The Engagement Model – Updated 7th September

This guidance for teachers to use as an assessment tool for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests has been updated with added transitionary guidance which outlines arrangements for the 2020/21 academic year.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and impacts mean some schools are not prepared to fully implement the engagement model from the 2020/21 academic year. In recognition of this, STA has confirmed that 2020/21 will be a transitionary year. Schools with eligible pupils who are ready to implement the engagement model guidance from September 2020 can do so, and schools that need more time to implement this change will have the option to assess against P scales 1 to 4 for one final year.

The use of the engagement model will be statutory from September 2021.

Ofsted visits to schools and colleges to begin this month – Press Release – 2nd September

Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) will visit around 1,200 schools across England this autumn term, Ofsted confirmed this as they published operational notes about visits to state schools, further education and skills providers (FES) and independent schools.

These interim visits are to reassure and inform parents, government and the public about how schools are managing the return to full education for all pupils.

Interim visits will help parents and the public to understand how individual schools are returning to the school’s normal curriculum. They will not be evaluating what leaders did during the spring and summer term 2020, when schools were not open to all pupils, but they may need to understand the broad context of its impact on the school.

Making relationships and sex education work for children with SEND (Sex Education Forum)

To coincide with relationships and sex education (RSE) becoming compulsory on 1st September the Sex Education Forum, together with Image in Action and Mencap, have published a new guide for teachers about how to teach RSE in an accessible way to ensure pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are not left behind.

Interim phase: Area SEND – Ofsted/CQC – 9th September

This is an operational note for Her Majesty’s Inspectors and Care Quality Commission inspectors carrying out interim visits to local areas regarding their special educational needs and disabilities arrangements from October 2020.

This guidance sets out the process and range of activities that inspectors will carry out for these interim visits, from inviting a local area to take part in an interim visit to sharing feedback.

The purpose of the visits is to:

  • support individual local areas to understand the impact of the pandemic on children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families
  • find out what has worked well for them during this time, what the challenges have been and any lessons learned
  • work with the local area to identify opportunities for improvement that address the remaining challenges faced by children and young people with SEND
  • highlight positive case studies and share insights nationally to promote whole-system learning

Behaviour hubs – Updated 14th September

This guidance explains how the Behaviour Hubs programme will enable schools with exemplary behaviour to work with other schools to improve their behaviour culture. This updated version has reformatted guidance and re-added details on how prospective lead schools and MATs can apply.

DfE is looking to appoint around 20 outstanding lead schools from across primary, secondary, special and alternative provision (AP) sectors. The DfE is also looking for 2 to 3 MATs with excellent behaviour management that are willing to support other Trusts. Appointments are due to be made in spring 2021.

Lead school or MATs who are selected will have the opportunity to share their behaviour culture and practices and make a difference to improving behaviour in schools in England.

Due to the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier this year, they are now re-opening the application window to provide an opportunity for schools and MATs to apply.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium – Updated 23rd September

This guidance explains what school leaders need to know about the catch-up premium and the National Tutoring Programme, including funding amounts and how funding should be spent. The ‘Payments’ section has been updated to include further details about allocations and clarified the list of eligible settings.

Teaching about relationships, sex and health – 24th September

This guidance offers support and training materials for schools to help train teachers on relationships, sex and health education.

At all times when developing curriculum and teaching relationships, sex and health education, maintained schools must comply with their duties under the 1996 Education Act regarding political impartiality.

Plan your relationships, sex and health curriculum – 24th September

This guidance contains information to help school leaders plan, develop and implement the new statutory curriculum.

It gives some basic principles to help school leaders plan and prepare for the new statutory curriculum. Schools have the flexibility to design their own curriculum to ensure it meets the needs of pupils and the community, as well as the statutory requirements.

Teacher Training materials for primary and secondary schools – 24th September

The DfE have published a suite of training materials to support teacher CPD in preparation for teaching the new RSH curriculum.

Internet safety and harms:

Health and prevention:

Caring friendships:

Intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health:

Respectful relationships:

Online relationships and media:

Drugs, alcohol and tobacco:

Changing adolescent body:

Basic first aid:

Summer-born children: school admission – Updated 24th September

This guidance about school admissions for children born in the summer has been updated ‘Admission of summer-born children: advice for local authorities and school admission authorities’ and added ‘Summer-born children starting school: advice for parents’.

Teaching during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Updated 25th September

This document contains information, guidance and support for teachers and leaders on educating children during the coronavirus outbreak. It has been updated with information on remote education expectations and remote education webinars.

Where a class, group or small number of pupils need to self-isolate, or there are local restrictions requiring pupils to remain at home, we expect schools to have the capacity to offer immediate remote education. Schools are expected to consider how to continue to improve the quality of their existing offer and have a strong contingency plan in place for remote education provision by the end of September.

Remote education webinars – Updated 1st October

This guidance explains how to access school-led webinars on remote education to help share good practice.

The Department for Education (DfE) is offering several school-led webinars on remote education to help share good practice. This is to support schools that are looking for help to improve the quality of their remote provision in line with the expectations set out in the guidance for full opening.

There are:

  • EdTech Demonstrator webinars
  • Webinars for school leaders
  • Webinars for teachers
  • Webinars for middle leaders (available later in the autumn term)

Ofsted inspection: removal of the outstanding exemption – Updated 1st October

This document contains a summary of responses the DfE received from the consultation on the removal of the outstanding exemption. It also contains the government’s response outlining plans to proceed with lifting the exemption from routine inspection by Ofsted that currently applies to outstanding schools and colleges, subject to parliamentary approval.

Laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers provided during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Updated 1st October

This guidance for local authorities, academy trusts and schools on managing Department for Education (DfE) devices provided for children, families and young adults most in need has been updated with further information about device ownership and responsibilities.

Get laptops and tablets for children who cannot attend school due to coronavirus (COVID-19) – Updated 1st October

This guidance explains how schools, colleges, academy trusts and local authorities can access digital devices for children who are learning remotely.

It has been updated to include further information on device allocation, when and when not to order devices and help on ordering.

Schools will be able to order an allocation of devices for:

  • disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a device and whose face-to-face education is disrupted
  • disadvantaged children in any year group who have been advised to shield because they (or someone they live with) are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • disadvantaged children in any year group attending a hospital school

Remote Education – A legal duty – 1st October

The DfE have published the Remote Education Temporary Continuity Direction: Explanatory note. This makes it clear that schools have a legal duty to provide remote education for state-funded school-age children unable to attend school due to COVID-19.

This comes into force on October 22nd until the end of the school year.

Remote education good practice – 1st October

This is a good practice guide to support school leaders in developing their remote education contingency plans.

Local-authority-maintained schools and academies: governance – Updated 8th October

This is a collection of links to relevant guidance and resources for governors of local-authority-maintained schools and academies. They include the updated Governance Handbook and Competency Framework and guidance on governance structures and roles.

Department for Education SEND Review

The SEND Review was launched in September 2019, to look into the progress made since the SEND reforms of 2014/15 and help ensure that these reforms are being implemented as well as possible. The Review will also help to inform the revision of the SEND Code of Practice, which was also planned for 2020.

Gavin Williamson has announced that there will be a delay to the SEND Review which will mean that any revisions to the Code of Practice will also be delayed. The Review is now planned for release in early 2021.

This article in TES has more detail:

News from nasen

nasen is going to be widening SEND support by offering free membership for all from January 2021. Membership will include access to shared information, research, Continuing Professional Development and Learning (CPDL) training and webinars from the Whole School SEND Consortium, hosted by nasen, to ensure every child and young person with SEND can achieve their potential at school.

There have been a number of reports and research papers on COVID- 19 and the impact on children and young people.

Left Stranded: The impact of coronavirus on autistic people and their families in the UK – National Autistic Society

Preparing for Recovery: Self-review and signposting tool – Schools’ Wellbeing Partnership

Special Education during Lockdown: Returning to schools and colleges in September – Nuffield Foundation

Children in Lockdown: The consequences of the Coronavirus Crisis for Children Living in Poverty – The Childhood Trust

Life on Hold: Children’s Wellbeing and COVID 19 – The Children’s Society

Coronavirus: Supporting pupil’s mental health and wellbeing – Anna Freud, NAHT, PSHE Association

Recovery, Re-introduction and Renewal: Safe and successful return to school – WSS, nasen, Notts CC, AEP, DfE

State of the nation 2020: children and young people’s wellbeing – DfE

Two recent SEND Reports

Trends in SEN identification: contexts, causes and consequencesPolicy Research Forum

Hide and Seek – Where are all the specialists? – Driver Youth Trust –

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