We hope that you are well. AfA’s main priority continues to maintain the high level of service we pride ourselves on, providing online support for all settings, schools, and colleges during this unprecedented time, when teachers and leaders across all phases are experiencing unique challenges.

As plans for September are now under scrutiny by the press and others, in this issue, we provide an update on programmes designed to support you and your school community as we move from lockdown to the next stage of engagement with leaders and teachers, parents and carers, children and young people.

You will have seen https://www.tes.com/news/coronavirus-revealed-dfes-16-point-september-school-opening-plan

Achievement for All will continue to support all schools, colleges, and settings, we are in this together.

If you have specific questions related to AfA programmes, please contact:

We appreciate your partnership; we hope you find our AfA Bulletins helpful and informative as we support you virtually during this period.

Please feel free to contact me direct if you need further support sonia.blandford@afaeducation.org 

Best wishes,


Lainy Russell and John Drew from AfA discuss advice for teachers and support staff for when children return to school. They chat about the importance of an emotionally intelligent workplace and give advice to staff on how our brains react and how to deal and plan for emotional reactions in both adults and children. Using the “put your own oxygen mask on first” analogy, they explain why it’s important to understand our own reactions so that we can support children with their reaction to trauma.


Covid-19 Leadership Support: Led by Marius Frank

A unique compilation of tried and tested modules designed to support leaders and teachers during this time.


Step-Up Reviews: Led by Maureen Hunt and AfA coaches

A range of reviews to help schools, colleges, and settings to review what is needed, short, sharp and inciteful, supported by experts.



The Childhood Trust report: Children in Lockdown

The Childhood Trust published a report drawing together emerging evidence on the consequences of the Coronavirus crisis for children living in poverty. The report emphasises the ways children in poverty have been severely impacted, including:

  • Mental health concerns –higher instances of depression, anxiety and loneliness for young people and risks of children developing post-traumatic stress, whilst facing restricted access to support services
  • Witnessing and experiencing emotional and physical abuse - Most children no longer have the opportunity to take refuge at school or youth groups and are spending less time with teachers and support workers who could pick up on evidence of abuse, and families are experiencing increased stresses
  • Educational loss –widening learning loss and attainment gaps between children in poverty and their more affluent peers due to significantly fewer resources, limited access to technology, restricted supervision, and unstable working environments
  • Hunger and food insecurity – for many young people living in poverty, the free school meal they receive is their only hot meal of the day. The closure of schools has meant many are suffering from hunger, while many families struggle to make up for this loss because of the economic impact of Covid-19
  • Temporary housing risks – it is often impossible to practice social distancing in temporary housing which share facilities, facilities are likely to be cramped and overcrowded so children have little space to crawl or play which is detrimental to their mental and physical health
  • Play and wellbeing – children living in poverty have less access to outdoor space as well as less access to the youth centres and social clubs which are likely to promote long-term recovery of young people’s wellbeing

To read the report, please click here

Core Strength: Marius Frank

A solution to engage disadvantaged children and young people through summer activity. Achievement for All has designed and implemented a programme that supports schools, community providers and families to provide meaningful and high impact activities for children and young people to rebuild their confidence and ability to learn following Covid-19 lockdown.

Core Strength Landing Page ("What is Core Strength?") https://res.afa3as.org.uk/CoreStrength/AFACoreStrength/index.html  

Core Strength for Parents we are working on a downloadable booklet to support this site https://res.afa3as.org.uk/CoreStrength/CS_Parents/index.html  

Core Strength for Schools https://res.afa3as.org.uk/CoreStrength/CS_Schools/index.html  

Core Strength for Primaries http://res.afa3as.org.uk/CoreStrength/CS_Primary/index.html  

Core Strength for Secondaries "Achieving Employability" http://res.afa3as.org.uk/CoreStrength/AFA_Achieving_Employability/index.html 

Link to Primary resource hub https://res.afa3as.org.uk/CoreStrength/CS_Resources/index.html  




Harnessing the power of assistive technologies to support EAL and new migrant children and families
Webinar 2#- Live captioning of presentations in different languages
Monday 13th July 15:00-15:30 BST

It is now possible to combine Microsoft PowerPoint with instant translation technologies so that live captions appear in up to 50 different languages.

Claire O'Keeffe and Marius Frank from Achievement for All will explain how easy it is to set up and apply these new functions to a wide range of educational activities, from presentation evenings to small group and whole-class teaching.

Contact: support@afaeducation.org for more details

Harnessing the power of assistive technologies to support EAL and new migrant children and families
Webinar 3#- Exploring Immersive Reader in the classroom and beyond
Monday 27th July 15:00-15:30 BST

Immersive Reader is part of a suite of accessible technology innovations that can be found in Word, OneNote, and Edge. Immersive Reader is much more than a text-to-speech tool: it can be used to analyse sentence form and translate instantly on-the-fly into over 50 different languages. Used appropriately it can transform the learning experiences of EAL and new migrant children and families.

Claire O'Keeffe and Marius Frank from Achievement for All will explain how easy it is to set up and apply these new functions to a wide range of educational activities, from presentation evenings to small group and whole-class teaching.

Contact: support@afaeducation.org for more details

Webinar 1#- Harnessing the power of Microsoft Translator within and beyond the classroom is available here:



Department for Education [Special Educational Needs and Disability Division]

1. Temporary changes to SEND law

Today, the Secretary of State has issued a notice to extend the temporary changes to the law on what provision has to be made currently for those with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. The temporary changes to the law have been in force since 1 May and are now extended to 31 July. Once the notice expires, the Secretary of State can issue a further notice for a period of up to a month if it would be appropriate and proportionate to do so in the context of coronavirus. We will keep this under close review. We have also taken the opportunity to publish a minor update to Changes to the law on education, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus.

2. Consultation on changes to the School Admission Code

The Department for Education has just launched a consultation on a revised version of the School Admissions Code (Code) and would welcome your feedback. The consultation can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-school-admissions-code--4. The consultation will run until 16 October.

The proposed changes to the School Admissions Code are intended to support vulnerable children. The changes would therefore potentially have significant implications for children with SEND. In addition, SEND stakeholders may have a particular interest in a specific recommendation about how the Code should provide for decisions about the admission of children and young people with Challenging Behaviour. We are keen to hear from a wide range of SEND stakeholders to help ensure that all relevant SEND considerations are factored into Ministers’ decisions as to the best way forward.

We understand that not only is the education sector facing challenges in supporting the country’s children to ensure they can access education, but the current COVID-19 outbreak has affected everyone's lives in different ways. In particular, we are concerned that some of our most vulnerable children may experience gaps in their education because they are unable to secure a school place quickly during this unsettled period. We think that now, more than ever, we need to continue with our plans to make changes to the School Admissions Code to support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

We have an extended consultation period of 16 weeks, running into the Autumn term to allow for disruption caused by both the school holidays and the phased re-opening and return to school. We are planning to host virtual consultation sessions with our stakeholders. Do let us know if you would like to be involved so we can plan accordingly.

We are not proposing a wholescale review of the admissions system.  Feedback from the sector is clear that the main round largely works well, but there are problems with the in-year admissions processes and Fair Access Protocols.  Our proposed changes seek to clarify these responsibilities and introduce a more robust process for their management and have been developed collaboratively with a number of stakeholders.

As you may be aware, the department previously committed to making a change to allow children adopted from state care outside of England the same priority for admissions as domestic looked after and previously looked after children. We are consulting on this change and are also using this opportunity to provide further clarity around the admission of service children and children of crown servants, alongside some additional minor drafting changes that will improve existing provisions.

More information on each of the changes can be found within the consultation document (found at the bottom of the consultation webpage under ‘attachments’), as well as a revised draft of the Code as proposed.

We have also published an updated statement on the admission of summer born children. This is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summer-born-children-school-admission.

Please do forward the details of our consultation to colleagues both within your organisations and to any other parties that may have an interest in this consultation.

We have set up the AdmissionsCode.Consultation@education.gov.uk mailbox for any future comments or questions in relation to the consultation.

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Prof. Brian Lamb was Chair of the Inquiry into Parental Confidence in the Special Educational Needs, which recommended the original creation of Achievement for All. He was Chair of the Special Education Consortium for ten years and a founding board member of Every Disabled Child Matters. He is also a visiting Professor in Special Educational Needs and Disability at Derby University, and a Visiting Fellow at London South Bank University looking at social innovation in public services.
Achievement for All Founding Chair moves onto Founding Patron role:

Brian was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Middlesex University for his work on SEND. He has published widely on SEND issues. After a long career as a senior leader in the voluntary sector he now works with local authorities, parents' groups, education leaders and the voluntary sector to bring about positive change for children with Special Educational Needs and vulnerable learners. He has been Chair of Achievement for All since 2011.

Brian first recommended the Achievement for All programme in 2008.  It was a privilege to be part of the team that delivered the successful Department for Education pilot (2009 – 2011) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/achievement-for-all-national-evaluation .  When we proposed the creation of the Achievement for All charity with Brian as Chair, there began a remarkable journey engaging with over 6,000 settings, schools, colleges, and partners.  Brian has described the journey as a ‘rollercoaster’, with many highs including Brian as speaker at major events in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, Birmingham NEC, and Newbury Racecourse.  It is as Chair we have valued Brian’s contribution the most, analytical, knowledgeable, and kind.  Thank you Brian, we ae grateful for all that you have done for Achievement for All, your leadership and guidance will remain with us in your new role as Founding Patron.