Plymouth pioneers schools initiative

Education leaders in Plymouth are welcoming the announcement that the city has been selected to pioneer a new approach to driving up attainment and standards in schools through greater place-based collaboration.

The Department for Education has announced that Plymouth will be one of four areas in the country selected to benefit from the new initiative and share the £10 million to be invested in supporting schools in improving the attainment of children and young people.

Government funding to support City’s most vulnerable children falls short

Plymouth City Council has to find an additional £500k to help support the City’s most vulnerable children, due to the Government relying on outdated figures to calculate the local funding allocation. 

Publicly-funded schools in England get extra funding from the Government to help them improve the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils.

The pupil premium grant supports children, such as those from low-income families and have been entitled to free school meals, children of service personals and those who are looked after.

11+ exams set to be postponed

A proposal to postpone this year’s 11+ exams until November has been submitted to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) and the Regional Schools Commissioners Office (RSC).   

Recently published government guidance recommends that local authorities and selective schools take this action so that all children sitting the 11+ examination have the very best chance of success after most year five pupils (year six this September) missed a very large part of their schooling over the summer term because of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Plymouth families to benefit from free school meal u-turn

amilies in Plymouth are being urged to check if they qualify for free school meals, after a government u-turn means that the scheme will now be funded over the summer holidays. 

On Tuesday, the government announced that they would be funding the scheme that provides vulnerable and low income families with vital vouchers for food over the traditional six-week summer break, having previously ruled it out.

Plymouth City Council opposed the government’s original position and lobbied hard for the correct decision to be make. The cause was also support nationally by education experts and championed by England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford. 

Children returning to school on 1 June

On Monday, many children in reception, year one and year six, will return to school for the first time since March. 

Practically and logistically, helping this to happen safely is a big challenge. 

Here, Judith Harwood, the Council’s Service Director for Education, explains the considerations and challenges that the Council and schools have had to overcome over the past few weeks.