School Bus Coronavirus Weekly Newsletter - 03/11/20
Welcome to this week’s newsletter!
This week’s edition is packed with all the information you need to know! From new products to details of our referral scheme, as well as information on our weekly tours. You’ll also find all the usual Education information to keep you up-to-speed, including must-have resources, latest news and sector updates.
Here to help with our coronavirus (COVID-19) resources
We are committed to supporting you throughout the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. In light of this, we have created a number of resources to support you at this time.
Whether you are signed up to TheSchoolBus or not, we want to provide the most informative resources to help you protect your school, pupils and community, which is why we’ve made many of our coronavirus resources available to everyone for free.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Staff Handbook
All schools should continue to deliver full provision during the coronavirus pandemic. While coronavirus remains in the community, the government has confirmed that judgements must be made at a school level about how to balance minimising any risks with providing a full educational experience for children and young people.
It’s important that schools put in place proportionate protective measures for pupils and staff, which also ensure that all pupils receive a high-quality education that enables them to thrive and progress.
Our template Coronavirus (COVID-19): Staff Handbook includes all the areas that schools must consider to ensure that the school community is safe and supported, and can be used to develop your own plan.
Please note that this handbook has replaced our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Full Opening Plan. If schools are required to close again, we will be republishing the full opening plan.
Take a look at this brand new resource, available here!
Updated Infection Control Policy
We have updated Appendix A, 'Infection Control During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic', in line with the latest government guidance.
Safeguard your pupils and staff against infectious diseases, including coronavirus, using our comprehensive model policy, based on DfE, NHS and Public Health England guidance.
These posters, designed to be displayed throughout your premises, clearly and effectively communicate the rules that pupils, staff and visitors should follow to help ensure your setting is COVID-secure.
This resource includes the following two posters:
A child-friendly poster which is perfect for use in primary schools
A poster that is geared towards staff members and secondary school pupils
Good Estate Management for Schools – Updated 3-Minute Read
The ESFA provides guidance for schools and academies on effective estate management, to help them make the most of their resources.
One of the main priorities for effective estate management is to ensure the necessary policies, processes and documents are in place, and that these are compliant with requirements.
This recently updated 3-Minute Read summarises the guidance provided by the ESFA, and gives you actionable advice about what to do next to help you adopt an effective approach towards estate management.
Created by Education experts and compliance specialists, Compliance Manager: Monitoring & Reporting guides your school or MAT step-by-step towards evidenced and categorical adherence to statutory and good practice requirements from HSE, DfE and Ofsted, and with regard to data protection and safeguarding regulations.
Achieve full compliance and demonstrate this to stakeholders at the click of a button!
We’d love to show you around so you can see for yourself how this product will benefit you. To arrange a time to suit you, simply email: email@example.com.
To discover how you can effortlessly monitor and report your school’s compliance, take a look here.
TheSchoolBus Foundation Referral Scheme
Help provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for disadvantaged children simply by telling a friend about TheSchoolBus! TheSchoolBus Foundation seeks to enable children and young people to develop strong foundations for the future and, right now, it's easier than ever for you to make a difference.
Every time you successfully refer TheSchoolBus, we will donate £50 to TheSchoolBus Foundation – funding incredible experiences for disadvantaged children across England.
We’ll also extend your licence with TheSchoolBus for a month, to say thank you for spreading the power of TheSchoolBus to help even more school leaders.
The name (and postcode, if known) of the school you want to share TheSchoolBus with
The name of your colleague in that school
That’s it! If they sign up to TheSchoolBus, we’ll donate £50 to disadvantaged children on your behalf and you’ll receive one month free. If they don’t, we will still donate £10 to the foundation as a thank you for spreading the word!
Every penny of each donation will go straight to the children who need it most.
Join our free weekly New Member Tour!
Sign up for one of our weekly tours of TheSchoolBus, designed to show new members how to make the most of their membership.
You will be able to ask any questions you may have and see how you can join more than 50,000 school professionals saving countless hours and reducing their workload by using TheSchoolBus.
Simply complete the form here and we will send you the link to join our weekly tour.
Tours are held every Thursday at 11:00am, but if you cannot join us at this time, don’t worry – please use the space provided on the form to request a free tour at a time convenient for you.
This week we were asked: 'What are the requirements for progressing onto the Upper Pay Range (UPR)?’
Ofsted's return in January is now ‘unthinkable’, say headteachers
Headteachers have spoken out that the disruption caused by increasing rates of coronavirus infection will result in “meaningful” Ofsted inspections being “impossible”.
Their case has been supported by recent news about a primary school that had to close its doors for a week, following a visit from an Ofsted inspector who tested positive for coronavirus.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, holds the opinion that Ofsted inspections should not resume until September 2021. Although the date for the return of school inspections is still under review, Ofsted and the DfE have said the plan is still for routine inspections to begin again in January 2021.
Mr Barton stated: “It is frustrating that there is still no decision on this issue, and schools need clarity.
“It is extremely unlikely that the COVID situation will improve to any extent over the coming weeks, and it seems pretty straightforward to make a call now that routine inspections will not resume in January in the light of the current circumstances.”
Ofsted ‘visits’ to go online during national lockdown
Ofsted confirmed yesterday that the programme of Autumn visits will be carried out remotely from Thursday (5 October), where possible.
The inspectorate said: “During the national lockdown we will undertake our work remotely where we can – only going on site where it is necessary to do so, or in response to urgent concerns.”
Full inspections are due to restart in January 2021, although it is unclear whether these will still go ahead following the announcement of a full national lockdown during November.
As always, we will keep you up-to-date on any further announcements.
Schools face cap on number of places for National Tutoring Programme
The National Tutoring Programme (NTP), which forms part of the government’s catch-up plan, opened to applications from schools from 10:00am yesterday.
Schools have been told to prioritise disadvantaged pupils who are more likely to have lost crucial learning time as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The NTP has warned, however, that the first tranche of funding is only enough to pay for tutoring for around 250,000 pupils, which is 18 percent of the roughly 1.4 million pupils eligible for FSM.
To ensure tutoring is allocated “fairly”, the scheme will be introduced in phases. The first phase will allow schools to apply for the number of places they need, encouraging them “to think about which pupils are most likely to benefit”.
At phase two, caps could be introduced regionally and nationally if demand is “very high”, to “ensure disadvantaged pupils in as many schools as possible receive support”.
At phase three, if any places are unfilled after the caps are introduced, or additional places are made available later in the year, schools will be given the opportunity to take those places.
Once tutoring capacity begins to grow, schools serving the “most disadvantaged” communities will be prioritised.
New Year 7 pupils are 22 months behind where they should be, finds study
No More Marking, a company that produces comparative judgement software, has found that new Year 7 pupils are 22 months behind expectations, after testing the writing skills of over 112,000 children.
The assessment found that the average writing score of the new Year 7 cohort was 533, which is around the same score as was achieved in a similar assessment of Year 5 children last November, and “significantly lower” than the score achieved by the same cohort when they were last assessed.
When they were last assessed, the same pupils were in Year 6 in March 2020, their average score was 550; however, the company does not have historic data on attainment at the start of Year 7, and was unable to say whether the fall in attainment was typical or “as a result of disruption caused by COVID-19”.
The report said: “We would expect writing attainment to continue improving from primary education into secondary education, but the rate of improvement may well decline, and be impacted by a transfer to new schools and a new context”.
The study also found that the gender gap had increased in favour of girls, and that the gap between pupils eligible for pupil premium funding and their peers also increased slightly.
Autumn GCSE series sees over 18,000 entries so far
There have been 18,450 entries for GCSEs in the Autumn series from pupils who were left dissatisfied with their grades this Summer; however, this number is likely to rise when entries for GCSEs in English and maths are added to the data once the deadline for entry into these exams has passed.
The data, released last week, shows that almost 70 percent of entries were from pupils currently in Year 12, who would have been taking their GCSEs last academic year.
Pupils currently in Year 11 made up 19 percent of the entries, while around 8 percent were from pupils currently in Year 13. Around 4 percent came from pupils in other year groups.
Double science, which had 3,950 entries, was the most popularly entered GCSE according to the data, followed by English literature, which had 2,805 entries, and other modern languages, with 2,105 entries. Of the over 800 entries submitted by pupils in Year 10 or below, 665 were in language subjects.
Disparate attendance rates will make it “incredibly hard” to create fair exam process, says policy institute
Analysis by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has found that school attendance rates varied dramatically across England in October, from as low as 61 percent in Knowsley to as high as 94 percent in Kensington and Chelsea.
The EPI warned that this variation, in addition to the varying losses of education during the partial school closures, will make it “incredibly hard” to establish a fair process for exams in 2021.
ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton said that the report should “ring alarm bells in [the] government about the widely differing impact of COVID disruption on pupils”.
He continued: “There is no way that it can be business as normal if a third of pupils were unable to attend school in some areas of the country, while in other areas attendance is over 90 percent.
“Of particular concern is the evidence that the most deprived areas were more likely to have seen lower pupil attendance levels.”
Knowsley and Liverpool, which are in the ‘very high’ tier 3 of the local COVID alert level system, have secondary school attendance rates below 70 percent; however, secondary schools in Calderdale and Kingston upon Thames also have low attendance rates, despite these areas having lower rates of coronavirus transmission.
According to the EPI, secondary schools were much more likely to report low attendance rates compared to primary schools, with secondary attendance averaging at 82 percent and primary at 90 percent.
The EPI has urged the government to publish more school attendance data on a regular basis.
Two thirds of students believe applying for university after receiving grades would be fairer
A study on reforming university admissions conducted by the Sutton Trust, an educational charity, found that two thirds of around 500 student respondents believe that applying for university after receiving their results would be fairer, compared to the current system of grades predicted by class teachers.
This follows a major review of admissions launched by the Office for Students, the independent regulator of the HE sector.
One option the review is exploring, backed by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, is whether the admissions process should take place after pupils’ A-level grades have been confirmed.
Researchers have suggested that moving away from predicted grades could “help level the playing field” for students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, whose grades are historically under-predicted.
Although the review has been paused due to coronavirus, researchers have said the discussion around grading caused by the pandemic has helped bring to light “major failings of the current system”, including overdependence on “unreliable teacher-predicted grades”.
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