Gallow Field Road
Foxton
Market Harborough
Leicestershire
LE16 7QZ

Telephone: 01858 545 328

Covid

Guidance for Restricted Opening: Schools – From DfE Guidance dated February 2021

 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957766/Restricting_attendance_during_the_national_lockdown-_schools.pdf

 

During the period of national lockdown schools should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend.  All other pupils and students should not attend and should learn remotely until 8 March at the earliest.

 

Schools will close as usual over February half-term.

 

The Prime Minister in his statement to Parliament on 27th January: that whilst our efforts so far do appear to have reduced the R rate, we cannot relax measures too soon, because if we do we run the risk of our NHS coming under still greater pressure.  We must therefore continue to limit school attendance to help to support the reduction in the overall number of social contacts in our communities, which is a vital intervention in the context of current high prevalence of Covid-19.

 

For vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers, who can still attend school or college, and their teachers, the system of protective measures means that any risks are well managed and controlled.

 

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has recently made clear that the overwhelming majority of children and young people still have no symptoms or very mild illness only. The way to control this virus is the same, even with the current new variants. Current evidence suggests that the Public Health England (PHE) - endorsed ‘system of controls’ that have been in use throughout the coronavirus pandemic and which are set out in this guidance - which includes minimising contact with individuals who are unwell, use of face coverings in corridors and communal areas, cleaning hands and good respiratory hygiene, regular thorough cleaning of the school, minimising contact, ventilation, use of PPE where specifically advised – continue to be the right measures to take. These measures create an inherently safer environment for children, young people and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. PHE keeps all these controls under review, based on the latest evidence. Schools therefore need to continue to implement these controls to the fullest extent possible (as they did before national lockdown when schools were full), whilst providing on-site provision for all of their vulnerable children and children of critical workers who need to be in school.

 

In the week commencing 22nd February, the Government will publish a plan for taking the country out of lockdown.  Our aim will be to set out a gradual and phased approach towards easing the restrictions in a sustainable way, guided by the principles we have observed throughout the pandemic, beginning with the most important principle of all: that re-opening schools must be our national priority.  We have committed to providing schools, parents and young people with a minimum of two weeks’ notice for this return to on-site provision.

 

Additional pupils and students will therefore return to on-site education on 8 March 2021 at the earliest.

 

 

 

 

Public health advice to minimise coronavirus (COVID-19) risks

 

Essential measures include:

 

  • a requirement that people stay at home if they:

• have virus symptoms, or live in a household with someone who does

• have tested positive, even if asymptomatic

• have been advised by NHS Test and Trace to do so

• are household members of a positive case, even if that case is asymptomatic

• are required to self-isolate for travel-related reasons

• robust hand and respiratory hygiene

• enhanced cleaning and ventilation arrangements

• active engagement with NHS Test and Trace

• formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible

• minimise the potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable

 

How contacts are reduced will depend on the school’s circumstances, including how many children need to attend during this period, and will (as much as possible) include:

 

• keeping children in consistent groups

• avoiding contact between groups

• arranging classrooms with forward facing desks

• staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff as much as possible

 

Class Organisation

 

Pre-School

Closed

Very low demand.

Youngest child unable to social distance.

Due to the availability of staff.

The need of space by the rest of the school.

 

Fox Cubs

Teachers

Mrs Bellamy (M,T,W) & Mrs Foster (T,F)

Assistants

Mrs Smith

Midday Supervisor

Inside Mrs Bellamy/Mrs Foster/Mrs Smith Outside Mrs Bratu

Lunchtime

Noon – 12:30pm classroom 12:30pm – 12:55pm Outside – Learning Area.

Start of the Day

From 8:45am – 9:00am – Fox Cubs Single Door.

End of the Day

From 3:00pm – Fox Cubs Double Door.

Playground / Field

10:15am Front Playground.

Year 1 and 2

Teacher

Mr Lambden (Mr Green student teacher)

Assistants

Mrs Bratu (Mrs Thurlby working from home)

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Bratu

Lunchtime

Noon – 12:30pm Classroom 12:30pm – 12:55pm Outside – Front Playground.

Start of the Day

From 8:45am – 9:00am – Year 1 and 2 Cloakroom.

End of the Day

From 3:00pm – Side of the Front Playground.

Playground / Field

10:40am Front Playground.

 

Year 3 and 4

Teachers

Mr Clark & Mr Evans

Assistants

Mr Cruickshank (Miss Warwick working from home)

Midday Supervisor

Mr Clark, Mr Evans & Mr Cruickshank

Lunchtime

Noon – 12:30pm Inside 12.30pm – 12.55pm alternate back playground and side area.

Start of the Day

From 8:40am – 9:00am – Year 3 and 4 Cloakroom then outside and in through Year 1 and 2 Cloakroom.

End of the Day

From 3:20pm – Year 3 & 4 Cloakroom Front Playground

Playground / Field

10:15am Back Playground.

 

Year 5 and 6

Teachers

Mrs Frow, Igor for PE on Mondays (Mr Marlow student teacher)

Assistants

Mrs Oakden (Mrs Silber working from home)

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Frow & Mrs Oakden

Lunchtime

Noon – 12:30pm Outside – Back Playground 12:30pm – 12:55pm Classroom

Start of the Day

From 8:40am – 9:00am – Year 5 and 6.

End of the Day

From 3:20pm – Side of the Front Playground.

Playground / Field

10:40am Back Playground

 

Before School Care and After School Care

 

24 hours’ notice needs to be given before we can agree to attendance at Before School Care and After School Care provision so that staffing can be arranged.  Generally, Before School Care and After School Care means a mixture of children from different classes so we a limiting Before School Care and After School Care to class or family groups.

 

After School Sports

 

Not taking place at this time.

 

 

 

 

Risk Assessment

 

Employers must protect people from harm.  This includes taking reasonable steps to protect staff, pupils and others from coronavirus (COVID-19) within the education setting.

 

Assessing the Risk

L – Likelihood

Rating

Description

Rare

1

May occur only in exceptional circumstances

Unlikely

2

Unlikely to occur

Possible

3

Reasonable chance of occurring

Likely

4

Will occur in most circumstances

Almost Certain

5

More likely to occur than not

 

C – Consequences

Rating

Description

Insignificant

1

Minor impact injury which will not affect the person

Minor

2

Minor injury, first aid required

Moderate

3

Semi-permanent injury/damage lasting up to 1 year

Major

4

Significant or permanent injury (loss of/use of limb) Major injury, reportable under RIDDOR

Catastrophic

5

Unexpected death of a pupil, member of staff, visitor or helper. Adverse high-profile national media coverage

 

When the likelihood and consequences are multiplied together the scores give a risk rating of between 1 and 25 on the matrix.

 

Likelihood of risk

Consequences/Severity

Insignificant (1)

Minor (2)

Moderate (3)

Major (4)

Catastrophic (5)

Rare (1)

1

2

3

4

5

Unlikely (2)

2

4

6

8

10

Possible (3)

3

6

9

12

15

Likely (4)

4

8

12

16

20

Almost Certain (5)

5

10

15

20

25

 

 

Risk Level

Rating

Actions

Required Responsibility

Low

1-3

Managed through normal school measures & practices.

 

Managed by Class Teachers and support staff ongoing.

Moderate

4-6

Review control measures through formal risk assessment.

 

Managed by Head Teacher.

High

8-12

Review control measures through formal risk assessment. Trip leader to ensure all actions are monitored and implemented. High level hazards identified and monitored.

Specific Risk assessment hazard required by Head Teacher.

Serious

15-25

As per High but immediate actions required to reduce risk.

 

Risk Assessment required and supplied to the Chair of Governors.

 

Overall, I judge the likelihood of risk to be ‘possible’ with a consequence of ‘catastrophic’.  This gives a score of 15 with a ‘serious’ risk level.

A plan has been devised to reduce the risk following the government’s guidance for Foxton Primary School:

 

Hazard

People Harmed

Risk Control

Further Action

Action by who

Action by when

Tick when complete

Risk Scoring

Staff in School

L

C

Contracting or transmitting Coronavirus.

All

  1. Do not come to work if you have coronavirus symptoms or go home as soon as these develop (informing Head Teacher) and access a test as soon as possible.
  2. Clean your hands more often than usual – with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered.
  3. Use the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach for coughs and sneezes.
  4. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
  5. Clean frequently touched surfaces often using antibacterial spray.
  6. Think about ways to modify your teaching approach to keep a distance from children in your class as much as possible, particularly close face to face support.
  7. Consider avoiding calling pupils to the front of the class or going to their desk to check on their work if not necessary.
  8. Help your class to follow the rules on hand cleaning, not touching their faces, ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ etc. with reminder posters.
  9. Where possible, prevent your class from sharing equipment and resources.
  10. Where possible, keep your classroom door and windows open for air flow.
  11. Limit the number of children from your class using the toilet at any one time.
  12. Limit your contact with other staff members, and don’t congregate in shared spaces.
  13. Use the WhatsApp group to communicate register/dinner register numbers to the office and kitchen.

All staff in school have been provided with COVID-19 Self Tests (Rapid Antigen Test) to be carried out on Sunday and Wednesday evenings.  Results are reported to K Raymakers.

All staff

On-going

 

3

5

 

 

Hazard

People Harmed

Risk Control

Further Action

Action by who

Action by when

Tick when complete

Risk Scoring

Start/End of Day

L

C

Contracting or transmitting Coronavirus.

All

Staggered start times to the day:

  • Arrive anytime between 8:40am – 9:00am.

 

A one-way system to be implemented for drop-offs.  Each group will have a designated entrance and parents will follow a one-way system to drop their child off.

 

  • Fox Cubs to use their new classroom door.
  • Year 1 & 2 to use the Infant Cloakroom.
  • Year 3 & 4 to use the Year 3 and 4 Cloakroom then walk outside and use the Infant Cloakroom.
  • Year 5 & 6 to use the Year 5 & 6 Cloakroom.

 

Only one parent will be permitted to drop-off their child.

Parents not permitted to enter the school building.

Posters at each entrance to remind parents of symptoms and to indicate the one-way system.

A member of staff on duty at the start of the day, to ensure parents are following the above guidelines.

Staggered end times to the day:

  • 3:00pm Fox Cubs and Year 1 & 2
  • 3.20pm Year 3 & 4 and Year 5 & 6

 

Where there are families with different pick up times, use the 3.20pm time – teachers will keep hold of the 3.00pm children until 3.20pm.

 

A one-way system to be implemented for collection and leaving the school grounds.

 

Face coverings to be worn by adults at drop off and pick up times when on school premises.

 

 

All staff

On-going

 

3

5

 

 

Hazard

People Harmed

Risk Control

Further Action

Action by who

Action by when

Tick when complete

Risk Scoring

In Classrooms

L

C

Contracting or transmitting Coronavirus.

All

  1. Children remain in their classes and don’t mix with others.
  2. Forward facing tables for the children to sit at.
  3. Staggered break and lunchtimes.
  4. School to provide equipment needed for each child.
  5. Surfaces to be wiped down after lunch.
  6. Children bring their own water bottle.
  7. No whole school assemblies.

 

All staff

On-going

 

3

5

 

Hazard

People Harmed

Risk Control

Further Action

Action by who

Action by when

Tick when complete

Risk Scoring

Cleaning

L

C

Contracting or transmitting Coronavirus.

All

  1. Frequently touched surfaces should be wiped down twice a day – lunchtime and before school.
  2. Toilets – clean frequently touched surfaces after break time, after lunchtime & before school.
  3. Derek and Jenny will complete enhanced cleaning from 6.30am each morning.  Tables, toilets, handles, equipment will be disinfected and carpets vacuumed.  Any shared equipment to be disinfected.

 

 

Toilets cleaning sign sheet.

All staff

On-going

 

3

5

 

Hazard

People Harmed

Risk Control

Further Action

Action by who

Action by when

Tick when complete

Risk Scoring

Visitors

L

C

Contracting or transmitting Coronavirus.

All

Only essential visitors for educational/maintenance/contractors.

Governors meetings in the staffroom, six maximum.

Face coverings / hand sanitiser / social distancing measures.

All staff

On-going

 

3

5

 

Fire Arrangements

If the fire alarm sound these are the instructions for the different areas of the school:

Children in the Hall

Exit through the Hall door.

Congregate on the field near the Fox Cub’s shed.

Children in Fox Cubs

Exit through the double doors.

Congregate on the front playground near the shed.

Children in Class One

Exit through the Hall door.

Congregate on the field near the Bike Shelter.

Children in Class Two

Exit through Class One Cloakroom.

Congregate near the Ball Wall.

Children in Class Three

Exit through Class Two Cloakroom.

Congregate near green gate.

Office

Exit through the Front Door.

Wait outside green fence, near office door.

Kitchen

Exit through Kitchen Door.

Wait near Front Door.

 

 

 

Governors

 

Monthly Governors will monitor to check that the controls are:

  • effective
  • working as planned
  • updated appropriately considering any issues identified and changes in public health advice

 

 

Plan for remote learning during restricted attendance at school and the continuity of education.

 

  • Text messages will be sent to parents directing to the remote learning.
  • Staff to communicate to pupils via PurpleMash or Microsoft Teams.
  • Live lessons will be provided over Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
  • Children to have at least 1 maths and 1 English activity per day (based on current topics if possible).
  • Staff to set an additional project / longer task where appropriate
  • Other core learning to complete:
    • Any online learning available e.g. TT Rockstars, BBC Bitesize
    • Daily Reading
  • School text message to parents explaining the above and the expectations from parents to support this
  • Fox Cubs – communicate through their WhatsApp group.
  • Alternative provision for those families without access to our online learning platform.

 

 

 

 

 

DfE Guidance – The system of controls: protective measures

 

Having assessed their risk, schools must work through the below system of controls, adopting measures to the fullest extent possible in a way that addresses the risk identified in their assessment, works for their school, and allows them to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum for their pupils, including full educational and care support for those pupils who have SEND.

 

If schools, follow the guidance set out here they will effectively reduce risks in their school and create an inherently safer environment.

 

System of controls

 

This is the set of actions schools must take. They are grouped into ‘prevention’ and ‘response to any infection’ and are outlined in more detail in the sections below.

 

Prevention:

1) Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school.

 

2) Where recommended, the use of face coverings in schools.

 

3) Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual.

 

4) Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.

 

5) Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents.

 

6) Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible.

 

7) Always keeping occupied spaces well ventilated.

 

8) Where necessary, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

 

 

Numbers 1 to 5, and number 7, must be in place in all schools, all the time.

 

Number 6 must be properly considered and schools must put in place measures that suit their particular circumstances.

 

Number 8 applies in specific circumstances.

 

Response to any infection

 

9) Engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.

 

10) Manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community.

 

11) Contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.

 

Numbers 9 to 11 must be followed in every case where they are relevant.

Prevention

 

1. Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school

 

Ensuring that pupils, staff and other adults do not come into the school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or live in a household with someone who does or have tested positive in at least the last 10 days and ensuring anyone developing those symptoms during the school day is sent home, are essential actions to reduce the risk in schools and further drive down transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

All schools must follow this process and ensure all staff are aware of it.

If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new and persistent cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must be sent home and advised to follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, which sets out that they should self-isolate for that day and the following 10 full days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate starting from the day the individual’s symptoms started (or the day their test was taken if they did not have symptoms, whether this was an LFD or PCR test), and the next 10 full days.

 

If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age and needs of the child, with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.  (Music Room)

 

If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate toilet if possible.  The room must be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.  (Disabled Toilet)

 

PPE must be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs). More information on PPE use can be found in the safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance.  (Available in the Disabled Toilet)

 

As is usual practice, in an emergency, call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Anyone with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms should not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

 

Any member of staff who has provided close contact care to someone with symptoms, even while wearing PPE, and all other members of staff or pupils who have been in close contact with that person with symptoms, even if wearing a face covering, do not need to go home to self-isolate unless:

 

• the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive

• they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange to have a test)

• they are requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace or the PHE advice service (or PHE local health protection team if escalated)

• they have tested positive from a LFD test as part of a community or worker programme

 

Everyone must wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and running water or use hand sanitiser after any contact with someone who is unwell. The area around the person with symptoms must be cleaned after they have left to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.

 

Public Health England has good evidence that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is not recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

2. Where recommended, use of face coverings in schools

 

In primary schools where, social distancing is not possible in indoor areas outside of classrooms between members of staff or visitors, for example in staffrooms, Head Teachers will have the discretion to decide whether to ask staff or visitors to wear, or agree to them wearing face coverings in these circumstances.

 

Based on current evidence and the measures that schools are already putting in place, such as the system of controls and consistent bubbles, face coverings will not be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible. Face coverings could have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should be avoided.

 

Exemptions

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This applies to those who:

 

  • cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment or disability
  • speak to or provide assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate

 

The same exemptions will apply in education settings, and we would expect teachers and other staff to be sensitive to those needs.

 

Access to face coverings

It is reasonable to assume that staff and young people will now have access to face coverings due to their increasing use in wider society, and Public Health England has made available resources on how to make a simple face covering.

 

However, where anybody is struggling to access a face covering, or where they are unable to use their face covering due to having forgotten it, or it having become soiled or unsafe, education settings should take steps to have a small contingency supply available to meet such needs.

 

No one should be excluded from education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.

 

Safe wearing and removal of face coverings

Schools should have a process for removing face coverings when those who use face coverings arrive at school, and when face coverings are worn at school in certain circumstances. This process should be communicated clearly to pupils and staff.

 

Safe wearing of face coverings requires cleaning of hands before and after touching – including to remove or put them on – and the safe storage of them in individual, sealable plastic bags between use. Where a face covering becomes damp, it should not be worn and the face covering should be replaced carefully.

 

Pupils must be instructed not to touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing it and they must dispose of temporary face coverings in a ‘black bag’ waste bin (not recycling bin) or place reusable face coverings in a plastic bag they can take home with them, and then wash their hands again before heading to their classroom.

 

3. Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin. This can be done with soap and running water or hand sanitiser. Schools must ensure that pupils clean their hands regularly, including when they arrive at school, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms and before and after eating. Regular and thorough hand cleaning is going to be needed for the foreseeable future. Points to consider and implement:

 

  • whether the school has enough hand washing or hand sanitiser ‘stations’ available so that all pupils and staff can clean their hands regularly (In each classroom)
  • supervision of hand sanitiser use given risks around ingestion. Small children and pupils with complex needs should continue to be helped to clean their hands properly. Skin friendly skin cleaning wipes can be used as an alternative (Adults to administer to small children)
  • building these routines into school culture, supported by behaviour expectations and helping ensure younger children and those with complex needs understand the need to follow them

 

4. Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach

 

The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach continues to be very important, so schools must ensure that they have enough tissues and bins available in the school to support pupils and staff to follow this routine. As with hand cleaning, schools must ensure younger children and those with complex needs are helped to get this right, and all pupils understand that this is now part of how school operates. The e-1Bug coronavirus (COVID-19) website contains free resources for schools, including materials to encourage good hand and respiratory hygiene.

 

Some pupils with complex needs will struggle to maintain as good respiratory hygiene as their peers, for example those who spit uncontrollably or use saliva as a sensory stimulant. This should be considered in risk assessments in order to support these pupils and the staff working with them, and is not a reason to deny these pupils face to face education.

 

5. Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents.

 

Points to consider and implement:

 

  • putting in place a cleaning schedule that ensures cleaning is generally enhanced and includes:
  • more frequent cleaning of rooms and shared areas that are used by different groups
  • frequently touched surfaces being cleaned more often than normal
  • toilets will need to be cleaned regularly and pupils must be encouraged to clean their hands thoroughly after using the toilet - different groups being allocated their own toilet blocks could be considered but is not a requirement if the site does not allow for it

 

Public Health England has published revised guidance for cleaning non-healthcare settings to advise on general cleaning required in addition to the existing advice on cleaning those settings when there is a suspected case.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

6. Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible

 

Minimising contacts and mixing between people reduces transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is important in all contexts and schools must consider how to implement this. Schools must do everything possible to minimise contacts and mixing while delivering a broad and balanced curriculum.

 

The overarching principle to apply is reducing the number of contacts between children and staff. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate (in ‘bubbles’) and through maintaining the distance between individuals. Whilst schools are attended by vulnerable children and the children of critical workers only, where possible schools should keep group sizes small. For children old enough, they should also be supported to maintain distance and not touch staff where possible. Any additional space available where there are lower numbers of pupils attending, should be used wherever possible to maximise the distance between pupils and between staff and other people.

 

The points to consider and implement are set out in the following sections.

 

a. How to group children

 

Consistent groups reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of pupils and staff in contact with each other to only those within the group. They have been used to date in recognition that children, especially the youngest children, cannot socially distance from staff or from each other and this provides an additional protective measure. Maintaining distinct groups or ‘bubbles’ that do not mix makes it quicker and easier in the event of a positive case to identify those who may need to self-isolate and keep that number as small as possible.

 

Each group should be kept apart from other groups where possible and older children should be encouraged to keep their distance within groups. Schools with the capability to do it should take steps to limit interaction and the sharing of rooms and social spaces between groups as much as possible. We recognise that younger children will not be able to maintain social distancing and it is acceptable for them not to distance within their group.

 

Both the approaches of separating groups and maintaining distance are not ‘all-or-nothing’ options and will still bring benefits even if implemented partially. Siblings may also be in different groups. Endeavouring to keep these groups at least partially separate and minimising contacts between children will still offer public health benefits as it reduces the network of possible direct transmission.

 

All teachers and other staff can operate across different groups. Where staff need to move between groups, they should try and keep their distance from pupils and other staff as much as they can, ideally 2 metres from other adults. Again, we recognise this is not likely to be possible with younger children and teachers in primary schools can still work across groups if that is needed.

 

b. Measures within the classroom

 

Maintaining a distance between people while inside and reducing the amount of time they are in face to face contact lowers the risk of transmission. There is strong public health advice that staff in secondary schools maintain distance from their pupils, staying at the front of the class, and away from their colleagues where possible. Ideally, adults should maintain 2 metre distance from each other and from children. We know that this is not always possible, particularly when working with younger children, but if adults can do this when circumstances allow that will help. In particular, they should avoid close face to face contact and minimise time spent within 1 metre of anyone. Similarly, it will not be possible when working with many pupils who have complex needs or who need close contact care. These pupils’ educational and care support should be provided as normal.

 

For children old enough, they should also be supported to maintain distance and not touch staff and their peers where possible. This will not be possible for the youngest children and some children with complex needs and it is not feasible in some schools where space does not allow. Schools doing this where they can, and even doing this some of the time, will help.

 

When staff or children cannot maintain distancing, particularly with younger children in primary schools, the risk can also be reduced by keeping pupils in smaller groups.

 

Schools should make small adaptations to the classroom to support distancing where possible. That should include seating pupils side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on, and might include moving unnecessary furniture out of classrooms to make more space.

 

c. Measures elsewhere

 

Groups should be kept apart, meaning that schools should avoid gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group.

 

Groups should be kept apart and movement around the school site kept to a minimum. While passing briefly in the corridor or playground is low risk, schools should avoid creating busy corridors, entrances and exits. Schools should also consider staggered break times and lunch times (and time for cleaning surfaces in the dining hall between groups).

 

Schools should also plan how shared staff spaces are set up and used to help staff to distance from each other. Use of staff rooms should be minimised, although staff must still have a break of a reasonable length during the day.

 

d. Other considerations

 

Some pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) (whether with education, health and care plans or on SEN support) will continue to need specific help with the changes to routines they are experiencing, so teachers and special educational needs coordinators should plan to meet these needs, for example using social stories.

 

Schools, local authorities, health professionals, regional schools commissioners and other services should work together to ensure that children with medical conditions are fully supported, including through the use of individual healthcare plans, so that they may receive an education in line with their peers. In some cases, the pupil’s medical needs will mean this is not possible, and educational support will require flexibility. Our guidance on supporting pupils at school with medical conditions remains in place.

 

Supply teachers, peripatetic teachers and other temporary staff can move between schools. They should ensure they minimise contact and maintain as much distance as possible from other staff. They should also participate in schools’ rapid testing programmes where these have been established. Specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils with SEND should provide interventions as usual.

 

Schools should consider how to manage other visitors to the site, such as contractors, and ensure that the risks associated with managing contractors, visitors, catering staff and deliveries, as well as cleaning staff on site who may be working throughout the school and across different groups, are addressed. This will require close cooperation between both schools and the other relevant employers. Schools should have discussions with key contractors about the school’s control measures and ways of working. Schools should ensure site guidance on physical distancing and hygiene is explained to visitors on or before arrival. Where visits can happen outside of school hours, they should. A record should be kept of all visitors with sufficient detail to support contact tracing if required by NHS Test and Trace.

 

Schools should also inform parents of the processes they have in place for drop- off and collection, and in particular, should ensure that they do not allow gathering at the school gates.

 

Where a child routinely attends more than one setting on a part time basis, for example, because they are dual registered at a mainstream school and an alternative provision setting or special school, schools should work through the system of controls collaboratively, enabling them to address any risks identified and allowing them to jointly deliver a broad and balanced curriculum for the child.

 

Equipment and resources are integral to education in schools. For individual and very frequently used equipment, such as pencils and pens, it is recommended that staff and pupils have their own items that are not shared. Classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the group; these should be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces. Resources that are shared between groups, such as sports, art and science equipment should be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between groups, or rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different bubbles.

 

Outdoor playground equipment should be more frequently cleaned. This would also apply to resources used inside and outside by wraparound care providers. It is still recommended that pupils limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials such as lunch boxes, hats, coats, books, stationery and mobile phones. Bags are allowed. Pupils and teachers can take books and other shared resources home, although unnecessary sharing should be avoided, especially where this does not contribute to pupil education and development. Similar rules on hand cleaning, cleaning of the resources and rotation should apply to these resources.

 

7. Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated

 

Once the school is in operation, it is important to ensure it is well ventilated and a comfortable teaching environment is maintained.

 

This can be achieved by a variety of measures including:

 

• mechanical ventilation systems – these should be adjusted to increase the ventilation rate wherever possible, and checked to confirm that normal operation meets current guidance (if possible, systems should be adjusted to full fresh air or, if not, then systems should be operated as normal as long as they are within a single room and supplemented by an outdoor air supply)

 

• natural ventilation – opening windows (in cooler weather windows should be opened just enough to provide constant background ventilation, and opened more fully during breaks to purge the air in the space). Opening internal doors can also assist with creating a throughput of air

 

• natural ventilation – if necessary external opening doors may also be used (as long as they are not fire doors and where safe to do so)

 

To balance the need for increased ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature, the following measures should also be used as appropriate:

 

• opening high level windows in preference to low level to reduce draughts

 

• increasing the ventilation while spaces are unoccupied (for examples, between classes, during break and lunch, when a room is unused)

 

• providing flexibility to allow additional, suitable indoor clothing. For more information see School uniform

 

• rearranging furniture where possible to avoid direct drafts

 

Heating should be used as necessary to ensure comfort levels are maintained particularly in occupied spaces.

 

8. Where necessary, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

 

The majority of staff in education settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases, including:

 

• where an individual child or young person becomes ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while at schools, and only then if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained

 

• where a child or young person already has routine intimate care needs that involve the use of PPE, in which case the same PPE should continue to be used

 

Read the guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care for more information about preventing and controlling infection, including when, how PPE should be used, what type of PPE to use, and how to source it.

 

Response to any infection

 

9. Engage with the NHS Test and Trace process

 

All school staff and pupils can access The NHS Test and Trace testing system, used to test symptomatic people (using a ‘polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test’). If a pupil who has attended school, or a staff member, receives a positive PCR test having developed symptoms, schools should follow the guidance below.

 

In addition to PCR testing, the use of rapid lateral flow tests allows the identification of some individuals with coronavirus who do not have symptoms, which make up around a third of all cases. Lateral flow devices are being provided to all schools and colleges so that they can offer their workforce (who are on-site) access to two tests every week. Testing is not mandatory for staff and they do not need to provide proof of a negative test result to attend school or college in person, although participation in testing is strongly encouraged. Primary schools should follow the Rapid asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for staff in primary schools’ guidance.

 

Schools must ensure they understand the NHS Test and Trace process.

 

Schools must also ensure that staff members and parents/carers understand that they will need to be ready and willing to:

 

• book a PCR test if they or their child are displaying symptoms. The main symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and/or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Staff and pupils must not come into the school if they have symptoms and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in school. All children can be tested if they have symptoms, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents or carers if using a home testing kit

 

• provide details of anyone they or their child have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace

 

• self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), or if anyone in their household develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), or if they are required to do so having recently travelled from certain other countries. Secondary schools participating in the rapid asymptomatic testing should follow the Mass asymptomatic testing: schools and colleges guidance.

 

Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a PCR test (symptomatic testing). PCR tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet. Essential workers, when include anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to PCR testing as well as regular asymptomatic LFD testing. The government will ensure that it is as easy as possible to get a PCR test through a wide range of routes that are locally accessible, fast and convenient. We will release more details on new PCR testing avenues as and when they become available and will work with schools so they understand the quickest and easiest way to get a PCR test.

 

The PCR test kits sent to schools are provided to be used in the exceptional circumstance that an individual becomes symptomatic and schools believe they may have barriers to accessing testing elsewhere. It is for schools to determine how to prioritise the distribution of their test kits in order to minimise the impact of the virus on the education of their pupils.

 

These kits can be given directly to staff or parents and carers collecting a child who has developed symptoms at school. In particular, these test kits will also help ensure that symptomatic staff can also get a test and if they test negative, can return to work as soon as they no longer have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Further information is provided in our guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): test kits for schools and FE providers.

 

Schools should ask parents of children attending school and staff to inform them immediately of the results of any tests taken outside school and follow this guidance.

 

1.  If someone with symptoms tests negative for coronavirus (COVID-19), then they should stay at home until they are recovered as usual from their illness but can safely return thereafter. The only exception to return following a negative test result is where an individual is separately identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, when they will need to self-isolate for 10 full days from the date of that contact.

 

2.  If someone with symptoms tests positive, they should follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and must continue to self-isolate at least from the day of onset of their symptoms and for the following 10 full days and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone.

 

3.  The period of isolation starts from the day when they first became symptomatic and the following 10 full days. If they still have a high temperature, they should continue to self-isolate until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should all self-isolate starting from the day the individual’s symptoms started and the next 10 full days.

 

 

NHS COVID-19 app

The app is available to anyone aged 16 or over to download if they choose. For some young people, particularly some with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), parents will need to decide whether or not their use of the app is appropriate.

 

Staff members will also be able to use the app. The guidance for schools and further education colleges in England is intended to provide information to senior leaders in education settings about the app and how it works, and to set out guidance for its use within schools in England.

 

 

10. Manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community

 

Schools must take swift action when they become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) having developed symptoms and taken a PCR test outside of school.

If schools would like support on the action they should take to respond to a positive case, they can contact the dedicated advice service introduced by Public Health England (PHE) and delivered by the NHS Business Services Authority. This can be reached by calling the DfE Helpline on 0800 046 8687 and selecting option 1 for advice on the action to take in response to a positive case. Schools will be put through to a team of advisers who will inform them of what action is needed based on

the latest public health advice

The advice service (or PHE local health protection team if escalated) will work with schools to guide them through the actions they need to take. Based on their advice, schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 10 days from the day after contact with the individual who tested positive. Close contact means:

• anyone who lives in the same household as someone with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)

• anyone who has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) with a PCR or LFD test:

• face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre

• been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact

• sexual contacts

• been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)

• travelled in the same vehicle or a plane

The advice service (or PHE local health protection team if escalated) will provide advice on who must be sent home. To support them in doing so, we recommend schools keep a record of pupils and staff in each group, and any close contact that takes places between children and staff in different groups (see section 6 of the system of control for more on grouping pupils). This should be a proportionate recording process. Schools do not need to ask pupils to record everyone they have spent time with each day or ask staff to keep definitive records in a way that is overly burdensome.

Where individuals are self-isolating and are within our definition of vulnerable, it is important that schools put systems in place to keep in contact with them, offer pastoral support, and check they are able to access education support.

A template letter will be provided to schools, on the advice of the health protection team, to send to parents and staff if needed. Schools must not share the names or details of people with coronavirus (COVID-19) unless essential to protect others.

Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the child, young person or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms. If someone in a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within the 10-days from the day after contact with the individual tested positive should follow

guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. They should get a test, and:

• if someone who is self-isolating because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) starts to feel unwell and gets a test for coronavirus themselves, and the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 10-day isolation period. This is because they could still develop coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.

• if the test result is positive, they should inform their setting immediately, and should isolate for from the day of onset of their symptoms and at least the following 10 full days (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 10-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate starting from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms and the next 10 full days, following guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

Schools should not request evidence of negative test results or other medical evidence before admitting children or welcoming them back after a period of self-isolation.

In the majority of cases, schools and parents will agree that a child with symptoms should not attend school, given the potential risk to others. In the event that a parent or guardian insists on a child attending school, schools can take the decision to refuse the child if in their reasonable judgement it is necessary to protect their pupils and staff from possible infection with coronavirus (COVID-19). Any such decision would need to be carefully considered in light of all the circumstances and the current public health advice.

Based on advice from Public Health England (PHE) and NHS Test and Trace, the testing programme initially included offering those who came into close contact with a positive case in colleges the option of 7 days of daily contact testing (with self-isolation if a subsequent test was positive) as an alternative to self-isolation. PHE and NHS Test and Trace have now reviewed their initial advice in light of the higher prevalence and rates of transmission of the new variant. They have concluded that these changes in the virus warrant further evaluation work and that daily contact testing in place of self-isolation should be paused until this evaluation has taken place. We will update this guidance once this evaluation is complete.

Test and Trace Support Payments

 

There may be individuals working in schools, such as supply staff, where when asked to self-isolate, are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating.

 

These individuals may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500, payable as a lump sum from local authorities, to ensure they are able to play their part in controlling the virus by isolating at home.

 

We anticipate that schools’ permanent staff will either be working from home, or they will continue to be paid during periods of self-isolation following an outbreak in the school setting. Schools can help temporary staff to work from home if they choose, and in those cases will be continuing to pay them. This support is only for the temporary staff who schools decide not to engage in home working and who are not being paid during self-isolation.

 

To be eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment, the individual must be living in England, meet the eligibility criteria and be formally advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, who will provide the individual with an NHS Test and Trace Account ID.

 

Where individuals have been asked to self-isolate by the school they are currently working in, the school should provide the individual’s personal details to NHS Test and Trace to allow them to provide the individual with an NHS Test and Trace Account ID, which will allow them to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment from their Local Authority.

 

To support this, the Department for Health and Social Care has launched the Self-Isolation Service Hub (020 3743 6715), a phone line open 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm, allowing a school to provide contact details of those individuals who has been asked to self-isolate.

 

The process is as follows:

 

1. The school learns of a positive test for an individual within the school.

 

2. A staff member at the school should speak with the person(s) who have receive a positive test and note their NHS Test and Trace Account Number.

 

3. The school determines which staff should self-isolate and inform the individuals.

 

4. The school should collate the contact details of these individuals.

 

5. A staff member at the school contacts the self-isolation hub on 020 3743 6715 and provide the hub with:

 

a. The NHS Test and Trace Account ID of the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19

 

b. The contact details of the individuals who have been asked to self-isolate.

 

6. NHS Test and Trace will then contact the individuals to formally advise them of their need to self-isolate and provide them with an NHS Test and Trace Account ID.

 

7.Individualswho are not able to work from home and who are not being paid may claim for a self-isolation payment through their local authority.

 

11.Contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice

 

If schools have two or more confirmed cases within 10 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, they may have an outbreak and should call the dedicated advice service, who will escalate the issue to the PHE local health protection team where necessary and advise if additional action is required.

In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure –perhaps the whole site or year group. If schools are implementing controls from this list, addressing the risks they have identified and therefore reducing transmission risks, whole school closure based on cases within the school will not generally be necessary, and should not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.

In consultation with the local Director of Public Health, where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school if necessary, in line with routine public health outbreak control practice.

 

Attendance

 

During the period of national lockdown, primary, secondary, alternative provision and special schools will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only (recognising that the characteristics of the cohorts in special schools and alternative provision will mean these settings continue to offer face to face provision for all pupils, where appropriate). All other pupils should receive remote education. Pupils who are self-isolating should not attend school. Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils are also advised not to attend school.

Schools should continue to record attendance in the register. Schools should follow up with parents and carers any absences of pupils who are expected to be in school to explore the reason, but where a parent wishes for their child to be absent, we expect schools to authorise this during this national lockdown period. Absence will not be penalised.

Critical workers

Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. This includes parents who may be working from home.

Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school. If it proves necessary, schools can ask for simple evidence that the parent in question is a critical worker, such as their work ID badge or pay slip. Parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.

We know that every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on-site provision is provided for these pupils, and there is no limit to numbers of these pupils who may attend and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. This is because we are reducing overall social contact across areas and the country rather than individually by each institution.

Vulnerable children and young people

The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes children who have a social worker, an education, health and care plan (EHCP) or who may be vulnerable for another reason at local discretion (“otherwise vulnerable”).

Schools are expected to allow and strongly encourage vulnerable children and young people to attend. Parents/carers of vulnerable children and young people are strongly encouraged to take up the place. In particular, children with a social worker are expected to attend provision (subject to public health advice), given their safeguarding and welfare needs.

If vulnerable children and young people do not attend, schools should:

• work together with the local authority and social worker (where applicable) to follow up with the parent or carer to explore the reason for absence, discussing their concerns using supporting guidance considering the child’s circumstances and their best interests

• work together with the local authority and social worker (where applicable) and other relevant partners to encourage the child or young person to attend educational provision, particularly where the social worker and the Virtual School Head (where applicable) agrees that the child or young person’s attendance would be appropriate

Where a parent or carer of a vulnerable child wishes for their child to be absent, we expect schools to authorise the absence during this national lockdown period. Absence will not be penalised.

Where schools grant a leave of absence to a vulnerable child or young person they should still speak to parents and carers, and social workers (where applicable) to explore the reasons for this and any concerns raised. This conversation is particularly important for children with a social worker. The discussions should focus on the welfare of the child or young person and ensuring that the child or young person is able to access appropriate education and support while they are at home. This situation should be kept under review and informed by any changes to the child’s welfare. Where a vulnerable child or young person is not attending, schools should have in place procedures to maintain contact, ensure they are able to access remote education support and regularly check if they are going so.

Vulnerable children and young people who have not attended their setting following the introduction of national restrictions can revisit that decision at any point in time and parents, carers and young people should talk to their education setting and social worker (if they have one) if they wish to do so. Education settings should also continue to encourage vulnerable children to attend and review whether there are other children and young people who might be newly vulnerable and benefit from on-site attendance.

Where providers have had to temporarily stop on-site provision on public health advice, they should inform the local authority to discuss alternative arrangements for vulnerable children and young people and work towards welcoming back pupils as soon as possible, where feasible to do so.

Regardless of setting, schools are encouraged to work collaboratively with other schools and education providers and other local partners (including the local authority, social workers, police, youth services, key workers etc.) to best facilitate opportunities for face to face provision for vulnerable children.

Recording attendance

All pupils who are not eligible to be in school should be marked as Code X. They are not attending because they are following public health advice.

Schools should speak to parents to identify children of critical workers who need to go to school; those that do not should be recorded as Code X.

• where critical workers only need their child to attend school part-time, schools should use Code X to record the sessions that the child is not expected to attend

• where the child of a critical worker is expected to attend a session and does not, the school should record the absence as Code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) unless another authorised absence code is more applicable

• as usual, Code X should be used if the child is self-isolating or quarantining because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

As vulnerable children are still expected to attend school full time, they should not be marked as Code X if they are not in school (except if they are shielding, self-isolating or quarantining). If the parent of a vulnerable child wishes their child to be absent, the parent should let the school know. The Department expects schools to grant applications for leave of absence given the exceptional circumstances. This should be recorded as code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) unless another authorised absence code is more applicable.

Pupils will not be penalised for absence in 2020/21 during the national lockdown. In light of the disruption to school attendance this year caused by the national lockdown, we will review and provide further advice to schools in due course on what should be included in pupils’ attendance records in end of year reports.

Schools should not plan for rotas or allow children other than those who are vulnerable or whose parent or carer is a critical worker to attend on-site, even if the school believes it can accommodate more children safely.

Opening hours

We expect schools to operate for their normal hours. Where possible, we would encourage breakfast club and after school provision, to help support the children of critical workers.

Expectations for remote provision, including expected hours, is included in the ‘Remote Education’ section.

Transport

Transport services to education settings should continue to be provided where necessary. Local authorities, operators, schools and colleges should work together to ensure that, wherever possible, service levels are reduced to meet current levels of demand, while also ensuring value for money.

The transport to school and other places of education: 2020 to 2021 academic year guidance remains in place.

Those involved in the provision of home to school or college transport must do all that is reasonably practicable to maximise social distancing where possible and minimise the risk of transmission. What is practicable is likely to vary according to local circumstances. Local authorities are not required to uniformly apply the social distancing guidelines for public transport, on dedicated school or college transport. However, distancing should still be put in place within vehicles wherever possible. This means that where fewer children and young people are attending school or college, sufficient levels of capacity should be maintained to maximise social distancing. For example, through alternate seating or separation between year groups or schools.

Children, young people and staff can continue to use public transport where necessary. We encourage everyone to walk, cycle or scoot wherever possible and safe. This will help to reduce pressure on the public transport network and allow social distancing to be practised. Where children, young people and staff need to use public transport, they should follow the safer travel guidance.

School workforce

We have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and PHE to develop this specific guidance for school settings. The PHE and DHSC endorsed system of controls outlined in this document sets out the measures that school leaders and all school staff should follow.

Where schools implement the system of controls outlined in this document, in line with their own workplace risk assessment, PHE and DHSC confirm that these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. As a result, on current evidence, PHE and DHSC advise that schools are not currently considered high risk settings when compared to other workplace environments.

Most school-based roles are not ideally suited to home working and schools may expect most staff to return to work in settings. Some roles, such as some administrative roles, may be conducive to home working, and school leaders should consider what is feasible and appropriate.

All staff should follow the measures set out in the system of controls section of this guidance to minimise the risks of transmission. This includes continuing to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene and maintaining social distancing in line with the provisions as set out in section 5 of the ‘prevention’ section.

School leaders should explain to staff the measures the school has put in place to reduce risks. We anticipate adherence to the measures in this guidance will provide the necessary reassurance for staff to attend school.

If staff are concerned, including those who may be clinically vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable or who believe they may be at possible increased risk from coronavirus, we recommend school leaders discuss any concerns individuals may have around their particular circumstances and reassure staff about the protective measures in place.

Staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable

New advice for those identified through a letter from the NHS or a specialist doctor as in the group deemed clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV or shielding list) was published on 13 October. The guidance provides advice on what additional measures individuals in this group can take tailored to each Local COVID Alert Level.

All staff can continue to attend school at all Local COVID Alert levels.

In the future, the government will only reintroduce formal restrictive shielding advice in specific local areas at very high alert level with exceptional circumstances where this has been advised by the Chief Medical officer, and only for a limited period of time. The government will write to individuals to inform them if they are advised to follow formal shielding and not attend the workplace.

Staff who are clinically vulnerable

Clinically vulnerable staff can return to school in September. While in school they should follow the sector-specific measures in this document to minimise the risks of transmission.

This includes taking particular care to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene, minimising contact and maintaining social distancing in line with the provisions set out in section 5 of the ‘Prevention’ section of this guidance. This provides that ideally, adults should maintain 2 metre distance from others, and where this is not possible avoid close face to face contact and minimise time spent within 1 metre of others. While the risk of transmission between young children and adults is likely to be low, adults should continue to take care to socially distance from other adults including older children/adolescents.

People who live with those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable can attend the workplace.

Staff who are pregnant

Pregnant women are in the ‘clinically vulnerable’ category and are generally advised to follow the above advice, which applies to all staff in schools. More guidance and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and pregnancy is available from the Royal College of Gynaecologists. All pregnant women should take particular care to practise frequent, thorough hand washing, and cleaning of frequently touched areas in their home or workspace.

An employer’s workplace risk assessment should already consider any risks to female employees of childbearing age and, in particular, risks to new and expectant mothers (for example, from working conditions, or the use of physical, chemical or biological agents). Any risks identified must be included and managed as part of the general workplace risk assessment.

If a school is notified that an employee is pregnant, breastfeeding or has given birth within the last 6 months, the employer should check the workplace risk assessment to see if any new risks have arisen. If risks are identified during the pregnancy, in the first 6 months after birth or while the employee is still breastfeeding, the employer must take appropriate, sensible action to reduce, remove or control them.

While it is a legal obligation for employers to regularly review general workplace risks, there is not necessarily a requirement to conduct a specific, separate risk assessment for new and expectant mothers. However, an assessment may help identify any additional action that needs to be taken to mitigate risks.

We recommend that schools follow the same principles for pregnant pupils, in line with their wider health and safety obligations.

Staff who may otherwise be at increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some people with particular characteristics may be at comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), as set out in the COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes report, which looked at different factors including age and sex, where people live, deprivation, ethnicity, people’s occupation and care home residence. These staff can return to school in September as long as the system of controls set out in this guidance are in place. The reasons for the disparities are complex and there is ongoing research to understand and translate these findings for individuals in the future.

People who live with those who have comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) can attend the workplace.

Employer health and safety and equalities duties

Schools have a legal obligation to protect their employees, and others, from harm and should continue to assess health and safety risks and consider how to meet equalities duties in the usual way. Following the steps in this guidance will mitigate the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19) to pupils and staff and help schools to meet their legal duties to protect employees and others from harm.

The Health and Safety Executive published guidance on first aid during coronavirus (COVID-19) which will support local risk assessments and provides guidance for first aiders. It is clear that treating any casualty properly should be the first concern. Where it is necessary for first aid provision to be administered in close proximity, those administering it should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands.

Supporting staff

Governing boards and school leaders should have regard to staff (including the Head Teacher) work-life balance and wellbeing. Schools should ensure they have explained to all staff the measures they are proposing putting in place and involve all staff in that process.

All employers have a duty of care to their employees, and this extends to their mental health. Schools already have mechanisms to support staff wellbeing and these will be particularly important, as some staff may be particularly anxious about returning to school. The Department for Education is providing additional support for both pupil and staff wellbeing in the current situation. Information about the extra mental health support for pupils and teachers is available.

The Education Support Partnership provides a free helpline for school staff and targeted support for mental health and wellbeing.

 

 

Staff deployment

Schools may need to alter the way in which they deploy their staff, and use existing staff more flexibly, to welcome back all pupils at the start of the Autumn Term.  Managers should discuss and agree any changes to staff roles with individuals.

It is important that planning builds in the need to avoid increases in unnecessary and unmanageable workload burdens. This could include a review of existing practices in this respect and schools may wish to draw on DfE’s workload reduction toolkit.

DfE has also published a range of resources, including case studies to support remote education and help address staff workload, this includes case studies on managing wellbeing.

If, having pursued all the immediate options available, you still have concerns about your staffing capacity talk to your local authority or trust.

Deploying support staff and accommodating visiting specialists

Schools should ensure that appropriate support is made available for pupils with SEND, for example by deploying teaching assistants and enabling specialist staff from both within and outside the school to work with pupils in different classes or year groups.

Where support staff capacity is available, schools may consider using this to support catch-up provision or targeted interventions. Teaching assistants may also be deployed to lead groups or cover lessons, under the direction and supervision of a qualified, or nominated, teacher (under the Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012 for maintained schools and non-maintained special schools and in accordance with the freedoms provided under the funding agreement for academies). Any redeployments should not be at the expense of supporting pupils with SEND. Head Teachers should be satisfied that the person has the appropriate skills, expertise and experience to carry out the work, and discuss and agree any proposed changes in role or responsibility with the member of staff. This includes ensuring that safe ratios are met, and/or specific training undertaken, for any interventions or care for pupils with complex needs where specific training or specific ratios are required.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published guidance on making the best use of teaching assistants to help primary and secondary schools.

When deploying support staff flexibly it is important that Head Teachers consider regulated activity and ensure only those who have the appropriate checks are allowed to engage in regulated activity. Full guidance is provided in Part 3 of keeping children safe in education.

Recruitment

Recruitment should continue as usual. The government’s Teaching Vacancies service can help schools to list vacancies for both permanent and fixed-term teaching staff quickly. The free national service for searching and listing teaching roles will be directing newly qualified teachers (NQTs) and job seeking teachers to this service.

As DfE guidance advises limiting the number of visitors, we recommend schools consider a flexible approach to interviews, with alternative options to face to face interviews offered where possible. Interviewing remotely may be a new experience for many schools. The DfE teaching blog provides some information on the experience of implementing interviews remotely. There is also advice that can be sent to candidates on how to prepare for remote interviews.

Where face to face meetings are necessary, schools should make clear to candidates that they must adhere to the system of controls that schools have in place. Schools will also have the discretion to require face coverings for visitors where social distancing cannot be managed safely.

Schools must comply with their legal duties regarding pre-appointment including having regard to part three of the statutory safeguarding guidance keeping children safe in education.

Initial teacher training (ITT) providers have worked flexibly to ensure this year’s NQTs are ready and prepared to enter the classroom. They will also be supported by materials DfE is making available to all schools based on the early career framework reforms, to support them as they start their teaching career. Schools in the early roll-out regions (Bradford, Doncaster, Greater Manchester and the North East) will be able to benefit from the full support package offered to some 2,000 NQTs. In addition, around 3,000 NQTs will be offered a one-year version of the structured support package.

Supply teachers and other temporary or peripatetic teachers

Schools can continue to engage supply teachers and other supply staff during this period and schools may want to consider how supply teachers, and other temporary staff, can assist in delivering face to face education and remote education.

 

We recommend that schools consider using DfE’s and Crown Commercial Service’s agency supply deal when hiring agency workers, as this offers a list of preferred suppliers that must be transparent about the rates they charge. Schools can get direct support from Crown Commercial Services on how to use the agency supply deal by emailing supplyteachers@crowncommercial.gov.uk with the school’s details and contact details.

 

Supply staff and other temporary workers can move between schools, where it is necessary to use supply staff and to welcome visitors to the school such as peripatetic teachers, those individuals will be expected to comply with the school’s arrangements for managing and minimising risk and schools should ensure that all temporary staff have access to the information on the safety arrangements in place, and ensure that this is provided as soon as possible after the booking is confirmed.

 

To minimise the numbers of temporary staff entering the school premises, and secure best value, schools may wish to use longer assignments with supply staff and agree a minimum number of hours across the remainder of the academic year.

 

Deployment of ITT trainees and engagement with schools

We strongly encourage schools to continue hosting initial teacher training (ITT) trainees throughout the national lockdown and beyond. While it is understandable that schools will have many priorities at this time, it is important that we protect the pipeline of future teachers. ITT trainees are included in the definition of a critical worker. This means that trainees can continue to go into their school or college on placement to support the teaching of vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers. Trainees who continue to go into their host school or college should be offered coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in the same way as the wider school staff. Trainees can also support schools in other ways, including supporting remote education, developing lesson materials and offering pastoral support. ITT providers may be able to provide schools with extra support to host trainees at this time. Schools should contact relevant ITT providers directly to discuss what support is available. Trainees will be expected to follow control measures put in place by schools.

 

Schools should consider how they can host ITT trainees during this period, and discuss with relevant ITT providers how this can be done flexibly and innovatively to help meet both school and trainee needs. Deployment decisions will need to take into account the skills and capacity of the trainees in question.

 

Trainees could:

• take responsibility, with the usual mentor oversight, for small groups of pupils in school across or within years, adapting resources for such groups, creating online education materials, re-planning sequences of lessons or delivering catch-up lessons • be engaged in wider professional activity, for instance tackling pupil, family and school needs by learning about, identifying and addressing challenges such as vulnerability, mental health problems or safeguarding issues

• develop or engage in working groups to share best practice around resilience, commitment and team-working

• work in pairs or groups to co-plan, co-teach and co-assess lessons with their mentors or other trainees. Paired and group placements, where these are possible, benefit trainees, mentors and teaching staff, promoting a greater sense of team collaboration, ongoing professional learning and reductions in workload

 

This is not intended to be exhaustive and ITT partnerships will need to ensure they have identified and comply with all legislation and guidance relevant to ITT.

 

Performance management and appraisal

Maintained schools must continue to adhere to the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), which includes the requirement to ensure that all pay progression for teachers is linked to performance management. We would expect schools to use their discretion and take pragmatic steps to adapt performance management and appraisal arrangements to take account of the current circumstances.

Schools should ensure that teachers are not penalised during the appraisal process or in respect of any subsequent pay progression decisions as a result of the decision to close schools (for all but children of critical workers and vulnerable children) and where this has impacted on the ability of the teacher to meet fully their objectives.

Appraisals and performance management for support staff should be carried out in accordance with the employee’s contract of employment. DfE does not specify pay or terms and conditions of employment for support staff.

Other support

Volunteers may be used to support the work of the school, as would usually be the case. It is important that they are properly supported and given appropriate roles. Where schools are using volunteers, they should continue to follow the checking and risk assessment process as set out in the volunteer section in part 3 of keeping children safe in education. Under no circumstances should a volunteer who has not been checked be left unsupervised or allowed to work in regulated activity. Mixing of volunteers across groups should be kept to a minimum, and they should remain 2 metres from pupils and staff where possible.

 

 

Safeguarding

Schools must continue to have regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance, keeping children safe in education.

Schools should review their child protection policy (led by their designated safeguarding lead) to reflect the move to remote education for most pupils. In some cases, a coronavirus (COVID-19) annex or addendum that summarises related changes might be more effective than rewriting and re-issuing the whole policy. It will be important that all staff working in the school are aware of the revised policy.

There should be no change to local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, which remain the responsibility of the three safeguarding partners (local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and chief officers of police). We expect all local safeguarding partners to be vigilant and responsive to all safeguarding threats and ensure vulnerable children and young persons are safe – particularly as more children and young people will be learning remotely.

It is expected that schools will have a trained DSL (or deputy) available on site. However, it is recognised that for some schools there may be operational challenges to this. In such cases, there are two options to consider:

• a trained DSL (or deputy) from the school can be available to be contacted via phone or online video, for example working from home

• sharing trained DSLs (or deputies) with other schools (who should be available to be contacted via phone or online video)

Where a trained DSL (or deputy) is not on site, in addition to one of the above options, a senior leader should take responsibility for co-ordinating safeguarding on site.

Catering and free school meals

Schools should provide meal options for all pupils who are in school. Meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are in school. Meals served should meet the school food standards, and where possible a hot meal should be available.

Schools should also continue to provide free school meal support to pupils who are eligible for benefits related free school meals and who are learning at home during term time. Extra funding will be provided to support schools to provide lunch parcels or locally arranged vouchers to eligible children. Schools are also able to order vouchers via the national voucher scheme. See more information on Providing school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Families in need of support during the half term break should contact their local authority in order to access help through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

Estates

Where mechanical ventilation systems exist they should be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations. Good ventilation is essential at all times in classrooms and particularly during this period.

Fire safety management plans should be reviewed and checked in line with operational changes.

Schools should check:

• all fire doors are operational at all times

• your fire alarm system and emergency lights have been tested and are fully operational

Carry out emergency drills as normal (following social distancing as appropriate).

You should make adjustments to your fire drill to allow for social distancing as appropriate. Refer to advice on fire safety in new and existing school buildings

Where buildings have been limiting attendance to just vulnerable children and children of critical workers or had reduced occupancy, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. Advice on this can be found in the guidance on legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak.

Educational visits

We advise against educational visits at this time. This advice will be kept under review.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced information on travel insurance implications following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. If schools have any further questions about their cover or would like further reassurance, they should contact their travel insurance provider.

School uniform

Some schools may feel it is appropriate to relax their uniform policy whilst only certain categories of pupils are attending. This is a decision for school leaders.

Wraparound provision and extra-curricular activity

Schools should continue to offer wraparound provision, such as breakfast and after-school clubs, for those children eligible to attend school (i.e. children of critical workers and vulnerable children and young people). Resuming this provision is important to ensure that parents and carers who are critical workers can continue to work, as well as to provide enriching activities for vulnerable children that improve their wellbeing or support their education.

Schools should also work closely with any external wraparound providers which these pupils may use, to ensure as far as possible, children can be kept in a group with other children from the same bubble they are in during the school day. However, where it is not possible, or it is impractical to group children in the same bubbles as they are in during the school day - for example, if only one or two children are attending wraparound provision from the same school day bubble - schools and external providers may need to group children with others from outside their school day bubble or from a different school, where children from multiple schools are attending provision. If schools or external providers need to do this, they should seek to keep children in small, consistent groups with the same children each time, as far as this is possible. If necessary, it would be appropriate for one staff member to supervise up to two small groups, provided that any relevant ratio requirements are met.

Schools can consult the guidance produced for providers who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children, to advise on the protective measures providers should put in place for the duration of the national lockdown to ensure they are operating as safely as possible.

Schools may also continue to open up or hire out their premises for use by external wraparound childcare providers, such as after-school or holiday clubs, that offer provision to children of critical workers and/ or vulnerable children. This includes for February half term for children of critical workers and/or vulnerable children. In doing so, schools should ensure they work with providers to consider how they can operate within their wider protective measures and should also have regard to any other relevant government guidance.

Music, dance and drama in school

Schools have the flexibility to decide how music, dance and drama will be provided to pupils attending school while following the measures in their system of controls.

Pupils should continue to have access to a quality arts education. Music, dance and drama build confidence and help children live happier, more enriched lives, and discover the joy of expressing themselves, while ensuring that all safeguards are in place to reduce the risk of infection in environments where singing, chanting, playing wind or brass instruments, dance and drama takes place.

Schools should take particular care in music, dance and drama lessons to observe social distancing where possible. This may limit group activity in these subjects in terms of numbers in each group. It will also prevent physical correction by teachers and contact between pupils in dance and drama.

Additionally, schools should keep any background or accompanying music to levels which do not encourage teachers or other performers to raise their voices unduly. If possible, use microphones to reduce the need for shouting or prolonged periods of loud speaking or singing. If possible, do not share microphones. If they are shared, follow the guidance on handling equipment.

Schools that offer specialist, elite provision in music, dance and drama should also consider this guidance alongside the DCMS guidance on the performing arts. Specialist provision delivered by further education (FE) providers or higher education (HE) providers should consider the respective Department for Education guidance for these sectors.

Performances

Schools should not host any performances with an audience.

Peripatetic teachers

Schools can continue to engage peripatetic teachers during this period, including staff from music education hubs.

Peripatetic teachers can move between schools, for instance, but schools should consider how to minimise the number of visitors where possible as set out in the system of controls.

Further information on the music education hubs, including contact details for local hubs, can be found at music education hubs, published by Arts Council England.

Music teaching in groups

When planning music provision, schools should consider additional specific safety measures. Although singing and playing wind and brass instruments do not currently appear to represent a significantly higher risk than routine speaking and breathing at the same volume, there is now some evidence that additional risk can build from aerosol transmission with volume and with the combined numbers of individuals within a confined space. This is particularly evident for singing and shouting, but with appropriate safety mitigation and consideration, singing, wind and brass teaching can still take place. Measures to take follow in the next sections. Government has published advice on safer singing.

Playing instruments and singing in groups should take place outdoors wherever possible. If indoors, use a room with as much space as possible, for example, larger rooms; rooms with high ceilings are expected to enable dilution of aerosol transmission. If playing indoors, limiting the numbers to account for ventilation of the space and the ability to social distance. It is important to ensure good ventilation. Advice on this can be found in Health and Safety Executive guidance on air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak and CIBSE coronavirus (COVID-19) advice.

Singing, wind and brass playing should not take place in larger groups. In the smaller groups where these activities can take place, schools should observe strict social distancing between each singer and player, and between singers and players, and any other people such as conductors, other musicians, or accompanists. Current guidance is that if the activity is face to face and without mitigating actions, 2 metres is appropriate. Pupils should use seating where practical to help maintain social distancing.

Pupils should be positioned back-to-back or side-to-side when playing or singing (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible. Position wind and brass players so that the air from their instrument does not blow into another player. Also, use microphones where possible or encourage singing quietly.

By considering and adopting these cumulative risk mitigation measures, the overall risk will be reduced.

Handling equipment and instructions

Measures to take when handling equipment, including instruments, include the following:

Requiring increased handwashing before and after handling equipment, especially if being used by more than one person.

Avoid sharing equipment wherever possible. Place name labels on equipment to help identify the designated user, for example, percussionists’ own sticks and mallets.

If instruments and equipment have to be shared, disinfect regularly (including any packing cases, handles, props, chairs, microphones and music stands) and always between users, following government guidance on cleaning and handling equipment available at hygiene: handwashing, sanitation facilities and toilets.

Instruments should be cleaned by the pupils playing them, where possible.

Limit handling of music scores, parts and scripts to the individual using them.

Consider limiting the number of suppliers when hiring instruments and equipment. Schools should agree whose responsibility cleaning hired instruments is with the suppliers. Clean hire equipment, tools or other equipment on arrival and before first use. Equipment and instruments should be stored in a clean location if schools take delivery of them before they are needed, and they should be cleaned before first use and before returning the instrument.

Pick up and drop off collection points should be created where possible, rather than passing equipment such as props, scripts, scores and microphones hand-to-hand.

Individual lessons

Individual lessons in music, dance and drama can continue, led by a member of staff from the school or peripatetic teacher. This may mean teachers interacting with pupils from multiple groups, so schools will need to take particular care, in line with measures set out above on peripatetic teachers.

In individual lessons for music, dance and drama, social distancing should be maintained wherever possible, meaning teachers should not provide physical correction.

Physical activity in schools

Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided to pupils attending school while following the measures in their system of controls.

Pupils should be kept in consistent groups, sports equipment thoroughly cleaned between each use by different individual groups.

Schools can hold PE lessons indoors, including those that involve activities related to team sports, for example practising specific techniques, within their own system of controls. However, outdoor activities and sports should be prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not, maximising natural ventilation flows (through opening windows and doors or using air conditioning systems wherever possible) distancing between pupils and paying scrupulous attention to cleaning and hygiene. This is particularly important in a sports setting because of the way in which people breathe during exercise. External facilities can also be used by schools in line with government guidance for the use of, and travel to and from, those facilities.

The ability for schools to offer team sports is likely to be limited. Where schools are considering team sports schools must only consider those sports whose national governing bodies have developed guidance under the principles of the government’s guidance on team sport and been approved by the government i.e. sports on the list available at grassroots sports guidance for safe provision including team sport, contact combat sport and organised sport events. Competition between different schools should not take place.

Schools are able to work with external coaches, clubs and organisations for curricular and extra-curricular activities where they are satisfied that it is safe to do so. Schools should consider carefully how such arrangements can operate within their wider protective measures.

Schools should refer to advice from organisations such as the Association for Physical Education, Sport England and Youth Sport Trust.

Activities such as active miles, making break times and lessons active and encouraging active travel help to enable pupils to be physically active while encouraging physical distancing.

 

Remote education

Due to the dedication of teachers and school leaders, the vast majority of schools have already been delivering remote education where it has been needed, continually improving their provision in line with expectations and emerging best practice.

The temporary continuity direction makes it clear that schools have a duty to provide remote education for state-funded, school-age children whose attendance would be contrary to government guidance or law around coronavirus (COVID-19). Where vulnerable children and young people and children of critical workers do not attend school or college, we expect schools and colleges to provide them with remote education. The Direction also requires schools to have regard to this guidance. Ofsted inspection will consider the quality of schools’ remote education in accordance with the expectations set out in this guidance.

• Key Stage 1: 3 hours a day on average across the cohort, with less for younger children

• Key Stage 2: 4 hours a day

If parents feel their children’s school is not providing remote education of a suitable quantity and quality, they are encouraged in the first instance to raise their concerns with the teacher or headteacher and, if the concerns are not resolved, to report the matter to Ofsted. Ofsted will consider the complaint and take action where appropriate. This could involve inspectors discussing the concerns with the school or if appropriate inspecting.

In addition, as announced in December, while Ofsted’s routine graded inspections remain suspended, inspectors will, during the spring term, conduct monitoring inspections of schools most in need of challenge and support – those previously judged to be providing an inadequate education and some previously judged to require improvement. Those inspections will provide assurance that pupils in those schools are receiving the best possible education – whether through classroom teaching or remote education.

In the context of schools limiting attendance to all but vulnerable children and children of critical workers, schools are expected to build on their existing remote education provision, ensuring a strong offer is in place for all pupils. Our Get Help With Remote Education page on gov.uk provides a one-stop-shop for teachers and leaders, signposting the support package available. Senior leadership teams and governors will want to assure themselves that their remote education offer meets the expectations in this guidance by reviewing and self-assessing their current practice. We have published a "review your remote education provision" tool, to support school leaders in doing this.

To stop pupils and students falling behind, our £1bn catch up package remains in place, including the £650 million catch-up premium and in-school support through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP).

Note that the expectations set out in this guidance are for schools rather than for individual teachers.

In developing their remote education, we expect schools to:

• teach a planned and well-sequenced curriculum so that knowledge and skills are built incrementally, with a good level of clarity about what is intended to be taught and practised in each subject so that pupils can progress through the school’s curriculum

• select a digital platform for remote education provision that will be used consistently across the school in order to allow interaction, assessment and feedback and make sure staff are trained and confident in its use. If schools do not have an education platform in place, they can access free support at Get help with technology - GOV.UK (education.gov.uk). Independent Schools (not including academies) that are not subject to the temporary continuity direction do not have to provide a digital platform. However, they do need to meet the Independent School Standards in relation to all of their pupils – including those working remotely through digital and/or non-digital means.

• overcome barriers to digital access for pupils by:

• distributing school-owned laptops accompanied by a user agreement or contract

• providing printed resources, such as textbooks and workbooks, to structure learning, supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils on track or answer questions about work

• Some pupils who have difficulty engaging in remote education may be considered to be vulnerable children and therefore eligible to attend provision. It is up to the child’s education provider or local authority to make this decision based on the needs of the child and their family, and a range of other factors, as set out in the guidance

• have systems for checking, daily, whether pupils are engaging with their work, and work with families to rapidly identify effective solutions where engagement is a concern

• identify a named senior leader with overarching responsibility for the quality and delivery of remote education, including that provision meets expectations for remote education

• publish information for pupils, parents and carers about their remote education provision on their website by 25 January 2021 – an optional template is available to support schools with this expectation

When teaching pupils remotely, we expect schools to:

• set meaningful and ambitious work each day in an appropriate range of subjects

• provide teaching that is equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school. This will include both recorded or live direct teaching time and time for pupils to complete tasks and assignments independently, and will be as a minimum:

• Key Stage 1: 3 hours a day on average across the cohort, with less for younger children

• Key Stage 2: 4 hours a day

Online video lessons do not necessarily need to be recorded by teaching staff at the school: Oak National Academy lessons, for example, can be provided in lieu of school-led video content.

• consider how to transfer into remote education what we already know about effective teaching in the live classroom by, for example:

• providing frequent, clear explanations of new content, delivered by a teacher or through high-quality curriculum resources

• providing opportunities for interactivity, including questioning, eliciting and reflective discussion

• providing scaffolded practice and opportunities to apply new knowledge

• enabling pupils to receive timely and frequent feedback on how to progress, using digitally-facilitated or whole-class feedback where appropriate

• using assessment to ensure teaching is responsive to pupils’ needs and addresses any critical gaps in pupils’ knowledge

• avoiding an over-reliance on long-term projects or internet research activities

We expect schools to consider these expectations in relation to the pupils’ age, stage of development or special educational needs, for example where this would place significant demands on parents’ help or support.

Younger children in Key Stage 1 or Reception often require high levels of parental involvement to support their engagement with remote education, which makes digital provision a particular challenge for this age group. We therefore do not expect that solely digital means will be used to teach these pupils remotely.

We also recognise that some pupils with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) may not be able to access remote education without adult support and so expect schools to work with families to deliver an ambitious curriculum appropriate for their level of need.

Special educational needs

For pupils with SEND, their teachers are best-placed to know how the pupil’s needs can be most effectively met to ensure they continue to make progress even if they are not able to be in school due to self-isolating. The requirement for schools to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the pupils’ special educational needs remains in place.

Schools should work collaboratively with families, putting in place reasonable adjustments as necessary, so that pupils with SEND can successfully access remote education alongside their peers.

Where a pupil has provision specified within their EHC plan, it remains the duty of the local authority and any health bodies to secure or arrange the delivery of this in the setting that the plan names. However, there may be times when it becomes very difficult to do so, for example, if they are self-isolating. In this situation, decisions on how provision can be delivered should be informed by relevant considerations including, for example, the types of services that the pupil can access remotely, for example, online teaching and remote sessions with different types of therapists. These decisions should be considered on a case by case basis, avoiding a one size fits all approach.

Vulnerable children

Where individuals who are self-isolating are within our definition of vulnerable, it is important that schools put systems in place to keep in contact with them.

When a vulnerable child is asked to self-isolate, schools should notify their social worker (if they have one). School leaders should then agree with the social worker the best way to maintain contact and offer support to the vulnerable child or young person.

Schools should also have in place procedures to check if a vulnerable child is able to access remote education support, to support them to access it (as far as possible) and to regularly check if they are doing so.

Delivering remote education safely

Keeping children safe online is essential. The statutory guidance keeping children safe in education provides schools and colleges with information on what they should be doing to protect their pupils online.

Support on delivering online remote education safely is available from:

• safe remote learning, published by SWGfL

• online safety and safeguarding, published by LGfL, which covers safe remote learning

• the National Cyber Security Centre, which includes which video conference service is right for you and using video conferencing services securely

• safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19)

• annex C of keeping children safe in education

Primary assessment

The Department recognises that due to the further disruption caused by school closures, primary assessments cannot continue as intended. We will therefore cancel the statutory Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 tests and teacher assessments planned for summer 2021, including the Key Stage 2 tests in reading and mathematics.

We remain determined to ensure that every young person, no matter their age or background, is provided with the education and opportunities they deserve despite the challenges faced by schools. We know that schools will continue to use assessment during the summer term to inform teaching, to enable them to give information to parents on their child’s attainment in their annual report and to support transition to secondary school. We strongly encourage schools to do this, using past test papers if they wish.

Primary assessments have a crucial role in supporting pupils to grasp the basics of reading, writing and mathematics and to prepare them for secondary school. As such, these arrangements will apply for summer 2021 only, and the Department is planning for a full programme of primary assessments to take place in the 2021/22 academic year.

The Standards and Testing Agency will update its guidance as soon as possible.