Back to School News Update September 2021

I do hope that you have all had a relaxing and restful holiday and that you are ready to face the term ahead. Let’s hope that we can get back to some kind of normality this term.

During the holidays a number of documents were issued by DfE, not many about SEND specifically, but I have highlighted the key ones I think will be of most interest.

National strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026 – 22nd July

The government has launched its national strategy for improving the lives of autistic people and their families and carers in England, and implementation plan for 2021 to 2022.

Development Matters – Updated 23rd July

This non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage has been updated with additional information on Page 50 and 54.

Pupil premium: effective use and accountability – Updated 23rd July

This guidance on how school leaders can manage their pupil premium funding, including reporting procedures and online statements has been updated with additional information on the templates that you must use to publish your statement for the 2021 to 2022 academic year.

You will be not required to publish your statement before the end of December 2021. This will enable you to take into account the needs of your new intake.

School attendance: guidance for schools – Updated 26th July

This guidance covers registers and attendance codes (including circumstances due to coronavirus (COVID-19)), school hours and term dates, and improving school attendance. It has been updated with an addendum: recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) during the 2021 to 2022 academic year.

School and trust governance during coronavirus (COVID-19) – 27th July

This research report summarises 4 case studies on how governors and trustees responded to the pandemic, whether the work of governing boards was affected and challenges faced.

Choosing a phonics teaching programme – Updated 27th July

This guidance sets out what the government is doing to help schools choose a phonics teaching programme. It has been updated with information about the additional funding and added contact details for the validated SPP programmes.

The DfE have allocated £5 million additional funding for eligible schools to purchase SSP programmes from the validated list

15 English Hubs working across the country will allocate the £5 million additional funding to eligible primary schools and support them to purchase one of the validated SSP programmes. A full list of eligible areas can be found within the guidance.

Keeping children safe in education – Updated 29th July

This statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment has been updated with revisions to the new low-level concerns in part 4, section 2 to better align with paragraph 74 “What school and college staff should do if they have safeguarding concerns about another staff member”.

Teachers’ standards – Updated 30th July

These standards set the minimum requirements for teachers’ practice and conduct. They have been updated to reflect changes in terminology and teacher induction duration related to the Early Career Framework reforms.

Statutory policies for schools and academy trusts – Updated 3rd August

This guidance on the policies and documents that governing bodies and proprietors of schools must have has been updated to reflect the changes in terminology from newly qualified teacher to early career teacher based on the early career framework reforms and a link has been added to the Induction for early career teachers (England) guidance 2021.

Music education: call for evidence – Consultation Response – 6th August

This report summarises the responses we have received, along with outlining the government’s response and the next steps.

Managing coronavirus (COVID-19) in education and childcare settings – Updated 17th & 27th August

This guidance contains what measures education and childcare settings should be prepared to introduce to manage coronavirus (COVID-19). The contingency framework has been updated ahead of the autumn term, in line with wider government guidelines.

All schools to receive carbon dioxide monitors – Press Release – 21st August

CO2 monitors will be provided to all state-funded education settings from September, so staff can quickly identify where ventilation needs to be improved.

The majority of the monitors will become available over the autumn term, with special schools and alternative provision prioritised to receive their full allocation from September given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils.

Back to school – what you need to know – Blog Post – 24th August

This blog contains what you need to know about going back to school.

  • Pupils no longer need to be in bubbles
  • Masks are no longer compulsory
  • Teachers no longer need to do contact tracing

Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:

  • they are fully vaccinated
  • they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
  • they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

A PCR test is recommended in the above cases.

Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges – 1st September

Keeping children safe in education – 1st September

Early Years Foundation Stage Framework – 1st September

A reminder that all these updated documents became statutory on 1st September.

SEND tribunal: extended appeals – Updated 1st September

This guidance for local authorities, health commissioners, parents and young people on the trial to extend powers of the SEND tribunal has been updated to confirm that the DfE will be continue to  extended the powers given to the SEND Tribunal since April 2018 to hear appeals and make non-binding recommendations about health and social care aspects of EHC plans, provided those appeals also include education elements.

From 1 September 2021, the Tribunal appeals which include health or social care aspects, will be known as ‘extended appeals’.

Tutoring revolution builds as students return to class – Press Release – 2nd September

The DfE have announced that schools will have greater flexibility to offer high-quality, 15-hour tutoring courses that meet the needs of their pupils, in a major expansion of the National Tutoring Programme backed by £1 billion.

As well as using the external tuition providers and academic mentors, schools can now also offer their own teacher-led tuition.

School-led tutoring grant – 2nd September

This guidance explains how schools and academy trusts should plan and deliver the national tutoring programme’s school-led tutoring to help pupils catch up on missed learning.

All state-funded schools and academy trusts with pupils eligible for pupil premium will receive a ring-fenced grant.

Funding is allocated for around 60% of pupils eligible for pupil premium per school. 75% of the cost is subsidised in academic year 2021/22. Schools and academy trusts will need to fund the remaining 25% through other budgets, for example recovery premium or pupil premium. The subsidy rate for 2022/23 will be 60% and for 2023/24 will be 25%

Review your remote education provision – 3rd September

This guidance offers a framework to help schools and further education (FE) providers in England identify strengths and areas for improvement in their remote education provision.

School admissions code – Updated 3rd September

This statutory guidance that schools must follow when carrying out duties relating to school admissions has been updated and the new statutory guidance came into force on 1st September.

Key changes include new provisions to support the in-year admission of vulnerable children and help reduce to a minimum any gaps in their education.

Best wishes


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