Latest Updates re Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance from Public Health England and the DfE
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline opening hours over the Easter holidays:
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline will be open every day over the Easter holidays to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care. Over the bank holiday weekend (Friday 2 April to Monday 5 April), lines will be open from 10am to 4pm. Phone: 0800 046 8687 Our usual opening hours will resume on Tuesday 6 April.
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline: The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling: 0800 046 8687. From 4 January 2021 the helpline opening hours are:
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm
**Updated guidance Monday 29th March**
Coronavirus (COVID-19) roadmap
From 29th March, the rules on social contact, business and activities, and travel are changing as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) roadmap. Outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the rule of 6) or 2 households will be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports. All children will be able to access any outdoor childcare and supervised activities. Parent and child groups, for the benefit of children aged under five years, can also take place outdoors with a limit of 15 attendees (children under five years of age and group facilitators do not count towards the attendee limit). Parent and child groups must be organised by a business, a charitable organisation or a public body.
The ‘stay at home’ rule will end, but many restrictions will remain in place.
Please see the guidance on the COVID-19 response – Spring 2021 (Roadmap) for further information.
**Updated guidance 24th March 2021**
Testing at home throughout the Easter holidays for schools and colleges:
Following the success of the asymptomatic testing programme on the return to school and college, it is vital to keep testing at home throughout the Easter holidays and into the summer term for staff, students and parents. Click on the link to find out how families and households can also access home test kits for adults.
**Updated guidance Monday 17th March 2021**
The DfE have updated guidance on what parents need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19. The guidance now includes information on returning to boarding school from overseas, including arrangements for pupils to quarantine on arrival in the UK. It also provides additional information to support parents considering elective home education for their child.
The DfE have also published a collection of guidance providing information for parents and carers of children attending early years settings, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This collection brings together information and guidance for parents on:
**Updated guidance Monday 15th March 2021**
The DfE have updated guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include a section on asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. This section provides information on how members of a household, childcare or support bubble of a primary or secondary-age pupil or college student can access twice-weekly testing.
**Updated guidance Monday 8th March 2021**
Pupils and students return to school and college from today Monday 8 March:
- pupils and students in all schools and further education settings return to face-to-face education
- wraparound childcare can reopen and other children’s activities can restart only where it is needed to enable parents to work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children can attend childcare and other children’s activities in all circumstances
- students on practical higher education courses at English universities who have not already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments will be able to return
England is still in a national lockdown. You must stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and follow the rules in the national lockdown: stay at home guidance.
**Updated guidance and open letter to parents Wednesday 24th February 2021**
The DfE have published an open letter from the Secretary of State for Education to parents about the decision to lift restrictions on education from Monday 8 March. This letter also provides information on the asymptomatic testing programme and safety measures. Alongside this the DfE have updated guidance on what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges and parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
**Updated guidance Monday 22nd February 2021**
Schools and colleges return to full opening from Monday 8 March
The Prime Minister has announced today (Monday 22 February) that the Government has set out its plan for the return of all pupils to schools and colleges, as part of the roadmap for leaving lockdown, which was published today. You can read a transcript of the Prime Minister’s speech which has now been published. All schools will return to face-to-face education on Monday 8 March.
All primary school pupils will return on Monday 8 March. Primary school staff will continue to take two rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) tests each week at home to identify positive cases more quickly and break the chains of transmission.
**Updated guidance Wednesday 3rd February 2021**
Information on the South African variant
The Department for Health and Social Care is offering testing to everyone aged 16 and over, even if they have been vaccinated. If you live in one of the affected areas, but have not been contacted and are unsure whether you should have a test, please visit your local authority website to find out more or visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
At present, schools and colleges remain open to vulnerable children and children of critical workers, and nurseries remain open. There are no instructions for education or childcare settings to close in areas where new variants have been identified.
This situation is being closely monitored in case more restrictions are needed. Please check with your local authority for the latest advice. Further information can be found in the stay at home guidance for the national lockdown.
The DfE have updated their guidance on what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Last September the Prime Minister launched the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ campaign urging the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control infection rates.
**Updated guidance Thursday 28th January 2021**
Prime Minister’s statement on the national lockdown position
The Prime Minister announced that it will not be possible to resume face-to-face learning immediately after the February half-term and instead hopes it will be safe to commence the reopening of schools and colleges from Monday 8 March. This is in response to the national public health data and pressure on NHS capacity.
If the Government achieves its target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups with their first dose by 15 February then those groups will have developed immunity from the virus around three weeks later, that is by 8 March. It is for this reason that the Government hopes it will therefore be safe to commence the reopening of schools from Monday 8 March.
Education settings, as well as students, parents and carers will be given at least two weeks notice to prepare for a return to face-to-face education. Schools will close as usual over February half-term and are not expected to remain open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers during that week.
Schools and colleges will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers after February half-term, as they are now. All other pupils will continue to receive high quality remote education at home. This is in line with the wider national lockdown measures to help minimise the spread of the virus and respond quickly to the new variant.
Early years provision should continue to remain open throughout and should continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetabled hours. This includes Ofsted registered nurseries and childminders, maintained nursery schools, as well as nursery classes in schools and other pre-reception provision on school sites. Education attendance restrictions are to be reviewed again in mid-February when the Government will look at when more pupils and students can be brought back into schools and further education.
The Prime Minister has also committed to providing a programme of catch-up into the next financial year. This involves a further £300m of new money to early years, schools and colleges for tutoring, as well as working in collaboration with the education sector to develop specific initiatives for summer schools and a coronavirus (COVID-19) premium to support catch-up. In recognition that extended school and college attendance restrictions will have a huge impact on children’s learning, the Government will work with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their learning over the course of this parliament.
The Government will also continue to provide support for pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals through the national voucher scheme or lunch parcels to those learning at home during term time next half-term. Support will also be available during the half-term holiday for vulnerable families through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.
Read the full statement made by the Prime Minister.
**Updated guidance Monday 4th January 2021**
National lockdown to come into force on Wednesday 6 January with schools closed from Tuesday 5th January
The Prime Minister has announced that a new national lockdown will come into force at 00:01 on Wednesday 6 January. During the period of national lockdown, schools, alternative provision, special schools, and colleges will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only. Public vocational exams and assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned. All other children and students will learn remotely until February half term. Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses. All early years providers (including registered childminders but not including reception years in primary schools) can remain open during this period of national lockdown
**Updated guidance Wednesday 30th December 2020**
Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, announcement on January 2021 return to education - click on the highlighted links for more information
The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has announced plans to protect education and fight the virus. Early years and some primary year groups will return as normal from the start of term in January, with the exception of areas where primary schools will shift to remote education in line with the contingency framework. The government has announced it will be applying the contingency framework for education and childcare settings to primary schools in areas of the country with very high rates of incidence or transmission of the virus, with the first areas to move into the framework as announced by the government/DfE.
**Update 23rd December 2020*
Government tiers review - addition of stricter restrictions and Tier 4. Waverley Borough moves to Tier 4 'Stay At Home' from Saturday 26th December: Government tiers review update
**Update 25th September 2020**
Letter to share with parents on coronavirus (COVID-19) testing
Public Health England has produced a letter for schools and colleges to share with parents which explains when a child requires a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and what the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are.
The DfE have translated their guidance for parents and carers with children in nursery, school, or college in the autumn term.
'Hands, Face, Space' Campaign
A new public information campaign has been launched ahead of winter to highlight how everyone can help to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). In September the Prime Minister launched the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ campaign urging the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control infection rates and avoid a second peak.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin. It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Launch of the #backtoschoolsafely campaign:
The DfE have launched the #backtoschoolsafely campaign to reassure parents and students that schools and colleges are ready for their return in September. This is part of the Government’s wider Stay Alert campaign. You will see newspaper and billboard advertising from 18th August, with radio and digital adverts from Monday 24 August, which will run until early September, alongside wider engagement with the teaching profession and local communities. The latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics show there is growing confidence among parents that their children will return to school in September, testament to the hard work of school staff. Parents are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school.