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School Closure Instructions and Information on GIS
27 Nov
What to do and what you need to know if you need to close your school - planned or unplanned. The decision to close a school or setting is taken by the Headteacher/Manager based on a risk assessment considering a number of factors: Local management; Conditions at the school/setting; and The health and safety of staff and pupils. Issues considered could include, but are not limited to, whether there is catering available; public transport services are running; the site is safe for pupils/staff and, if conditions worsen, whether pupils/staff be able to return home safely. If at all possible, the school/setting will remain open for as many children as possible. Schools/settings will do all they can to re-open as soon as appropriate. If a school/setting has to close, information will be made available to parents/carers through the school's/setting's normal communications channels (including their website). Instructions for 'closing' and 'reopening' your school on the Dorset Council GIS system are available in our Instructions for Schools Closure document - attached. Useful Dorset Council emergency contact details are in the Emergency Poster document, also attached. Latest information on a school’s correct status is shown at https://mapping.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/closedservices The Department for Education website has further detail on how to manage your schools open status in a variety of emergency scenarios. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/emergencies-and-severe-weather-schools-and-early-years-settings This includes guidance on marking pupil attendance and what to do if limited numbers of staff are available. If flooding has significantly affected your school or early years setting, you should contact DfE directly using incident.alert@education.gsi.gov.uk Early Years providers who have had to move to temporary premises should check to see if they need to register with Ofsted at their new premises.
Have your say on school counselling services - take the survey!
25 Nov
FAO Headteachers and Designated Safeguarding Leads Survey - pastoral care and counselling services provided in school This short online survey, co-ordinated by Public Health Dorset, is designed to help us understand the provision of services and the needs that exist. Responses from the survey will help shape and build the future provision of this vital service. Pastoral and Counselling services provided in the school environment have grown and use many approaches to suit various and ever-changing needs in a school community. It is important that schools providing emotional and mental health support have the best and most effective methods in place. This requires adequate and appropriate support, signposting and resourcing within the school as well as from those who make up the supporting workforce around a school. Staff capacity or budgets will influence the provision but may leave a gap in meeting growing needs. This survey will help us understand both the counselling or pastoral support service provision as well as the emotional and mental health needs that are currently being experienced by schools across Dorset. We appreciate this is a very busy time in the school calendar and would be very grateful if you could complete the survey before Friday 6th December 2019. We are only expecting one response per school. If you have any questions before completing the survey, or have any comments you wish to make, please contact Lucy Johns on lucy.johns@dorset council.gov.uk. With many thanks and kind regards, Miriam Leigh Principal Educational Psychologist Educational Psychology Service Children’s Services Dorset Council 01305 228300 miriam.leigh@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk Lucy Johns Commissioning Manager Children’s Services 01305 221588 lucy.johns@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Letters for Early Years and Education Leads re: Flu
25 Nov
Dear Colleagues, Flu is beginning to circulate in the UK. Most indicators are still below baseline but the national hospital admission rate has just risen above the baseline threshold. The North East has seen a large number of outbreaks in schools over the last couple of weeks and in this past week there have been several outbreaks (one confirmed as Flu A so far) with a particularly high number in North Somerset and Somerset. Public Health England have therefore written letters for early years settings and for schools for circulation through local networks. Please see attached letters for circulation to staff and to make parents aware. Please also see NHS children’s flu vaccines which explains about the nasal sprays that 2 and 3 year olds are eligible for instead of injections. Further information is at Public Health England. Thank you.
Self-Care Workshops - Free Self-care Stomp
12 Nov
As part of promoting her Self-Care Workshops Emma Pritchard at Dorchester Counselling and Wellbeing would like to offer a FREE Self-care stomp to Dorset Head Teachers. Appreciating teachers busy workloads, she is offering these over 2 days with 2 different time slots. FRIDAY 15th November 10-11.30am 1-2.30pm FRIDAY 29th November 10-11.30am 1-2.30pm The aim of these days is to showcase the outdoor group therapeutic walks running at Thorncombe woods, Dorchester for 18 months. If head teachers would like to join please could they book time slots either via messaging Emma on her Facebook pages - https://www.facebook.com/selfcaresparkle or https://www.facebook.com/Emma-Pritchard-Dorchester-Counselling-and-Wellbeing. There are 8 places in each slot so it would be advisable to book your slot sooner rather than later. Further information is at https://www.dorchestercounsellingandwellbeing.co.uk
The Dorchester Coat Bank - Free Coats for Children 4 -12yrs
12 Nov
People from our local community have been kindly donating children's coats to Dorchester Family Partnership Zone!! If you or anyone you know could benefit from a warm winter children's coat, please come along to Poundbury Children's Centre. We can also organise deliveries to local schools if this helps. Please call us on 01305 221348 or email us at dorchesterfamilypartnershipzone@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Tax-Free Childcare, faster payments and changes to reference numbers
11 Nov
Parents can use Tax-Free Childcare to pay for: pre-schools, day nurseries and out-of-school care registered childminders school based care (that is paid for, such as after-school and holiday clubs) The article summarises some changes HMRC are making to improve the childcare service. Provider payment changes HMRC have confirmed it’s now quicker for parents to make Tax-Free Childcare payments to providers, now taking less than 24 hours. For example; If a parent makes their initial deposit by bank transfer: it will normally take 2 hours for the payment to reach their childcare account HMRC will add any government ‘top up’ automatically they can use the money to pay their provider as soon as it shows as ‘available funds’ If a parent makes their initial deposit by bank transfer: it will normally take 2 hours for the payment to reach their childcare account HMRC will add any government ‘top up’ automatically they can use the money to pay their provider as soon as it shows as ‘available funds’ If a parent makes a payment to their provider: before 2:30pm it will reach the provider’s account the same day after 2:30pm or at the weekend or bank holiday, it will arrive in their provider’s account the next working day Payments over £2,000 will take up to 3 working days to reach the provider’s BACs account. Payment reference numbers HMRC have also advised changes to the payment reference number. Transactions will now appear on the provider’s bank statement as ‘National Savings A’. HMRC are working with the National Savings and Investment (NS&I) to make it easier to identify a Tax-Free Childcare payment. The reference will soon change to NS and I TFC. The statement entry (National Savings A) should also contain the child’s: childcare reference number – made up of 4 letters and 5 numbers. The letters are the first initial and the first 3 letters of the child’s surname. For example AJON12345 Tax-Free Childcare account number - this will be 13 digits long, begin with 1100 and should contain the letters TFC. For example TFC 1100012345678 Depending on the provider’s bank, a typical entry may look like this: NATIONAL SAVINGS A FP11s11111/REMI/TFC 1100012345678/ROC/ AJON12345/FPID/111111100N111111 If your bank displays the payment information differently and you are unable to identify a parent’s payment, you should call the childcare service helpline on 0300 123 4097. Providers who haven't been able to sign-up because of UTR The HMRC are changing their system in December 2019 to remove the necessity of providers having a UTR number, which has prevented some registering to offer the scheme. We'll update this page when we've heard it's changed, but parents can claim compensation for missed TFC top-ups. Parents should use this form if they: have paid full childcare costs without receiving the government top up are unable to complete an application for Tax-Free Childcare, because of a technical difficulty with the childcare service, which they are yet to resolve are unable to access their childcare account, because of a technical difficulty with the childcare service, which they are yet to resolve. If parents have any issues please advise them to contact HMRC's helpline and they will talk them through the process to claim this. Find out more about Tax-Free Childcare.