Please ensure you read all available links and guidance on this page, and those available on the DfE / Public Health and Essex County Council websites before making contact. Should your question(s) still not be answered, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, if you need to speak to the DfE directly then use the following contact details:
Telephone Number - 0800 046 8687
Email - DfE.email@example.com
(Opening hours 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday)
Please note: If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UKPRN) available when calling the helpline.
This page will be updated daily with the most recent communications sent from Clare Kershaw, Director of Education - see below.
Different sets of Frequently Asked Questions have been put together which again, will be updated as and when new queries arise:
If you need to report a school closure, please log this (for every day you are closing) via the My School Page in the usual way. Further information can be found on the School Closures page.
There are a number of documents and resources also available for you:
Guidance, information and resources to support preparations to reopen for September 2020
Guidance, information and resources to support preparations to reopen
Letter to school leaders and all school staff from Cllr Ray Gooding - 17 July 2020
Getting your child to school - information on options and guidance on travel
Letter to parents from the Directors of Education and Public Health - letter from Clare Kershaw and Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health. The letter outlines the preparations that are taking place to prepare for all children and young people to return to school, and important information for parents and carers 15 July 2020
Joint Union Checklist - commentary and checklist from the NEU, GMB, UNISON and Unite unions. This document is based on the current DfE advice for schools and follows its structure. 15 July 2020
Ofsted Activity in the Autumn - summary of conversations Michelle Winter, Senior Her Majesty's Inspector, had with Essex schools last week about Ofsted's activity in autumn
Request for LA officer session - booking form to request support with preparation for wider reopening 13 July 2020
Presentations from LA ASHE Meeting 10 July 2020:
Maximising School Attendance - things to consider when addressing attendance in September 2020
Overnight Short Breaks - guidance on children who are accessing both school, and their overnight short breaks 22 June 2020
Guidance for Before/After School Providers - 22 June 2020
Transition Guidance - these documents are designed to act as an aide memoire, recognising that all schools and settings have individual contexts, processes and procedures already in place to support and enable effective transition
Maintaining Bubbles - guidance on merging, splitting, adding to and staffing school bubbles 18 June 2020
Wider Opening Guidance - guidance for scaling up onsite provision (primary schools) 18 June 2020
Flexibility Guidance - flexibility guidance on the wider reopening 16 June 2020
Wider Opening Schools - statement from Gavin Williamson 10 June 2020
Principles to support the wider opening of secondary schools - 8 June 2020
Attendance Coding - guidance on attendance coding during Covid19 1 June 2020
Transition Guidance for Educational Settings - guidance around transitions for children and young people 1 June 2020
Behaviour Management Policy Support - advice that was included in the home school partnership arrangements and some examples that schools have subsequently used 29 May 2020
Model Health and Safety Policy - this should be considered as an addendum to any existing Health and Safety Policy you have in place, to cover the Covid19 response period 29 May 2020
Liability Guidance - guidance on employment law, personal injury claims and insurance liability 22 May 2020
Re-opening Framework for Special Schools - May 2020
Creating Safe Environments guidance - support for reopening 20 May 2020
Looking after Staff guidance - support for reopening 20 May 2020
Home School Partnership Arrangements - updated to reflect preparations for re-opening
Model School Reopening Letter for Parents - letter template to share with parents 20 May 2020
Support for Reopening Proforma - 18 May 2020
Reasonable Endeavours - guidance and key messages in relation to the temporary amendments to the EHCP legislation, the Essex plan to implement the guidance and support available for schools and settings
PPE Suppliers - list of suppliers who have advised Essex County Council that they have Personal Protective Equipment for those that require it 18 May 2020. Please note: The information provided by the Suppliers and the products on offer are in no way warranted or guaranteed by the Council. The products on offer or the numbers available may differ from those published.
Risk Assessment and Action Plan - template for risk assessments and action plan15 May 2020
Planning Guide for Primary Schools - Summary 15 May 2020
HR Self Declaration Letter - 14 May 2020
Letter from Clare Kershaw - to send to parents outlining the governments announcements and how we are working with schools 14 May 2020
Re-opening Framework for Mainstream Schools - 13 May 2020
Information and guidance for governing bodies during the coronavirus outbreak
Guidance and resources for managing your workforce
Supporting students with medical needs through closures
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Support and advice for staff, students and families
Guidance, information and resources on various aspects of schooling and more during the coronavirus outbreak
Information for parents and templates for you to use to communicate with them if needed
Early Intervention for Families made vulnerable as a result of Covid19
SENCO Helpline - information about the next dates for the SENCO helpline
Families in the Community letter - letter for families with children with complex needs who may need to be out of their house or local area during these times of lockdown and social distancing 30 April 2020
Letter to parents re: statutory SEND work - the impact of Covid-19 on SEND statutory work and the ways of working of the SEND services 30 March 2020
Guidance, support and resources for remote learning for schools, students and families
Safeguarding and SEN
Information and resources to help ensure the safety and protection all students, as well as support for vulnerable children and children with SEND
Archived documents and links
Any documents referred to in the below statements, can be found above in the list of resources.
Latest email update from Clare Kershaw - Thursday 22 October 2020
Latest DfE and ECC Guidance Updates - 19 October 2020
As we come to the end of the first half of the Autumn term, I want to again extend my congratulations on what you have achieved and thank you for continued hard work, professionalism and leadership. I could not be more proud of the leadership and workforce we have across the entire education sector in Essex. The commitment of the sector to pupils, families and communities is inspiring, so thank you for all you are doing.
Please see below a few things I wanted to share with you before the half- term break begins:
1. Guidance regarding the remote education continuity Direction
Please see attached remote education guidance as promised. I want to reiterate that all schools have very different cohorts of individuals, capacity and IT solutions in place and so your remote learning offers will be different in nature. There is no 'one size fits all'. However your School Effectiveness Partner, Head of Education or Assistant Director is available to support you in any way they can. Shown in blue are additions and updates to the last remote learning guidance issued.
2. Essex Contact Tracing Team Update
We have been working closely with the Essex Contact Tracing Team to review their capacity and working hours. We are looking at ways in which we can bring additional capacity to support you as effectively as possible. We will be able to share this with you following half term.
We must ask that if you contact the ECTT during a busy time and they are unable to answer, that you please leave a phone number which you will be available on. We have had feedback from the ECTT that they are struggling to respond to messages left outside of school hours because mobiles are not answered.
3. Reporting a case of COVID19
In order to streamline the process of reporting a case/s to us, we have put together a very simple table, which is attached. If you use this to report a case to use, this will ensure we have all the information needed on first email and won't need to request further information from you.
4. Parents evenings, visits to school and governing body meetings
We have reviewed the many queries we are now receiving about parents evenings and tours around the school.
Given the increasing number of COVID19 cases, Essex moving into the High Local Alert Level and the need for us all to remain vigilant and avoid mixing as much as possible; we feel that we need to amend our position on parents evenings and school tours. It is essential that schools are able to remain open safely for all children, young people and staff and so our suggested advice is to avoid any non-essential visits to the school site at this time. Parents evenings could be undertaken virtually and lots of schools have created excellent videos and virtual tours.
It is important to note that this does not include professionals visiting to work with children/ young people or school staff. This is considered essential work, which should continue face to face or virtually, as appropriate.
Where possible Governing Body meetings should continue virtually.
Of course, your risk assessment will drive your decision regarding visitors to schools, this is our suggested advice only regarding the organisation of parents evenings, parent visits and governing body meetings.
5. Positive cases during half-term
The timeframe that contact tracing is undertaken is 2 days prior to symptoms displaying. This means that if a child develops symptoms during half term week (Monday onwards) you would not need to undertake contact tracing for school based contacts. Parents should still inform you of children who receive a positive test result, or if they have been advised to self-isolate as a close contact, as the self-isolation period for those individuals will continue after the half-term break. The usual contact tracing for social contacts will still apply and this is outside of the school's remit.
If you are advised of a positive test result before Monday, you should follow your usual contact tracing processes. If you need to contact the ECTT their opening hours are 10am-4pm Sat and Sun and from 8am weekdays. The school comms inbox remains open as usual and we will be available to give advice if it is urgently needed.
In communication with your parent community you may wish to remind them that under level 2 restrictions the mixing of households inside is not currently allowed and social distancing between households when outside is required. This continues to apply over the half-term break.
We will not send a communication next week, in the hope that you are all taking a well-deserved break.
I hope you enjoy a well-deserved break over half term.