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02/06/20 UPDATE: CORONAVIRUS: ADVICE FOR SCHOOLS AND FURTHER EDUCATION PROVIDERS

Apr 28

Update 02/06/20

This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Updated guidance on the early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework

We have updated our statutory guidance for schools and childcare providers on the early years foundation stage (EYFS) to provide clarification on the progress checks for children aged 2. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we do not expect providers to undertake this check, but providers should look out for any emerging concerns about any child in their care and endeavour to provide or seek additional support if needed.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework--2

Regulation and inspection of early years providers as they return to providing care for all children

Ofsted has updated their guidance on the regulation and inspection of early years providers as they return to providing care for all children. During this period, Ofsted will not be doing routine inspections, which report on the quality of education that children in the EYFS receive while attending an early years or childcare provider. They will, however, continue to take action against providers and intervene when there is evidence that they are not meeting any of the other requirements that continue to apply.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ofsted-coronavirus-covid-19-rolling-update

Updated guidance for parents and carers on the wider opening of educational settings

We have updated our information for parents and carers about the wider opening of education settings to include details about opening secondary schools to years 10 and year 12 pupils from 15 June and to provide links to guidance on safer travel.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Reminder to submit the daily online attendance return to the Department for Education

Please continue to provide information on your educational setting’s status during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The form should be completed by all educational settings, including primary and secondary schools. Your data helps us build a national picture of educational provision so that we can focus support more effectively, monitor the impact of the virus, help inform the government’s response and ensure children are safe.

We will be publishing an instruction video shortly that will help you to complete the form.

The online form can be found here:

https://form.education.gov.uk/service/educational-setting-status


The information below has not changed since yesterday.


Preparing for the wider opening of schools and early years settings

Guidance on the actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June, at the earliest, can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020

Guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings

Guidance for early years providers to help them prepare to open their settings for children of all ages from 1 June can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-early-years-and-childcare-settings-from-1-june

Guidance for primary schools to help them prepare to open to Reception, year 1 and year 6 from 1 June can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools

Guidance for secondary schools to help them prepare to offer face-to-face support to year 10 and year 12 pupils from 15 June can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools

Guidance for parents and carers as schools and other education settings in England open to more children and young people can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the helpline.

Updated handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when outside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene. E-Bug has published posters on hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes, to display in bathrooms, classrooms and shared spaces.

The hand and respiratory hygiene posters and other educational resources can be found here:

https://e-bug.eu

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.​UK

All of the Department for Education’s coronavirus guidance for educational settings can be found in one place on GOV.​UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings

Updates to the school admission appeals process

It is important parents continue to have the right to appeal any school admission decisions. To enable this, we have made regulatory changes that came into force on 24 April 2020 and will remain in place until 31 January 2021. The new regulations give admission authorities the flexibility to manage appeals whilst ensuring families are supported and not disadvantaged by current measures to protect public health.

The guidance can be found here:

Ofqual seeks views on awarding vocational and technical qualifications in summer 2020

Ofqual has published a consultation on the exceptional arrangements for awarding vocational, technical and general qualifications (other than GCSEs, AS and A levels) in summer 2020. The deadline for responses is 8 May.

Further information on this consultation can be found here:

Update: 14/04/20

Schools to remain closed until further notice

All early years settings, schools and further education providers will remain closed until further notice, except for children of critical workers and children who are vulnerable. We will only re-open settings when the scientific advice indicates it is safe to do so.

 The Head will write to all parents confirming arrangements, before 20.4.20.

Letter from the head

Update: 08/04/20

Implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings

We have updated our guidance on social distancing in education and childcare settings, focusing on measures that can be put in place to help limit the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading within these settings.

The guidance can be found here:

Update to free school meals provision over Easter holidays

The Government has confirmed it will extend financial support to children eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are not attending school during the Easter holidays.

The guidance can be found here:

Online educational resources to support children to continue learning at home

We have published a list of online resources that parents, and schools can consider to support children to continue learning at home. The list will be updated over time, and includes a wide range of resources for all ages that schools can consider using as part of their planned curriculum. Schools have already been drawing on existing resources and tools they are familiar with to support children to continue learning at home and should continue to do so.

More information can be found here:

Updated guidance on apprenticeship programme

We have updated our guidance on the apprenticeship programme response to coronavirus (COVID-19) including information on the continuation of training and end point assessments for furloughed apprentices, and the pausing of new funding audits.

The guidance can be found here:


The information below has not changed since yesterday.


Updated handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when outside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found at:

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

Resources are currently available for KS1, KS2 and KS3 and can be used in various settings including schools and at home:

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Update: 07/04/20

Please note the council have a helpline available for both people who may need assistance due to COVID-19 or for people who would like to volunteer to help those in need. You can call the helpline on: 020 8313 4484 and find out more information via this link.

Update: 02/04/20

Guidance for parents and carers: keeping children safe online

We have updated our information for parents and carers to include a section on keeping children safe online. It provides links to online resources that will help support parents and carers in keeping their children safe online.

Full details can be found in section 6.3 of the guidance for parents and carers on the closure of educational settings:

Update: 23/03/20

Information to cascade to parents and carers

From Friday 20 March schools, childcare and other educational settings are closed for everyone except:

  • children of critical workers
  • vulnerable children

We have published guidance for parents and carers:

Critical workers

If parents’ work is critical to the coronavirus response, their children will be prioritised for early years and education provision.

The Government has published a list of critical workers:

Please cascade the above information to parents and carers where possible.

Attendance reporting for educational settings to start from Monday 23 March

From Monday 23 March, educational settings should complete a short form to notify the Department for Education about their status regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

The form will ask you to confirm whether your setting is open and, if so, provide information about numbers of pupils and staff attending. It will take you less than 2 minutes to complete. You should submit it by noon of each weekday.

Your data will help us build a national picture of educational provision so that we can focus support more effectively. It will also help the Government monitor the impact of the virus.

You will need a ‘DfE sign-in’ account to access the form. We are writing separately to DfE Sign-in approvers in all education settings to help you with this.

We will send more information about recording attendance and completing the form tomorrow.

Further details on exams and grades announced

New details regarding the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on summer exams has been released.

The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, following our actions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Ofqual and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible.

Find details on the impact on summer exams here:

More information will be provided as soon as possible.

Funding to support schools

To ensure schools can continue to pay their staff and meet other financial commitments, schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure.

We will put in place a new process that allows us to reimburse schools for exceptional costs that they face as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Details of the scheme will be published in the coming days.

Update: 20/03/20

 

Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, has asked for this message to be passed to all those who work in the education sector

The government recognises the huge importance of the role you have played in maintaining the education, training and social care of our children and young people during this challenging time. I recognise that you will have the same anxieties as the rest of the country about your health and that of your families. On behalf of the Prime Minister and the entire government, I thank you all for all of your work so far, and your continued support. I am deeply grateful for the civic spirit and dedication of everyone working in education, and I will continue to provide my full support throughout this crisis.

Next steps

It is clear that education and children’s social care settings are increasingly finding it difficult to continue as normal, as illness and self-isolation impacts on staffing levels and pupil attendance. To provide parents, student and staff with the certainty they need we are announcing that schools, colleges and early years settings will be closed to everyone except children of key workers and vulnerable children from Monday, as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus.

Examples of these workers include NHS staff, police and delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work. Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans.

A full list of key worker categories will be published by the Cabinet Office tomorrow.

Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care.

Where schools are unable to provide this reduced provision, local authorities will work with the Department for Education’s regional teams to ensure an alternative option is available.

We are expecting early years providers and sixth form and further education colleges to do the same. We are working with Her Majesty’s Treasury on the financial support required. We are also asking that independent schools and boarding schools follow the same approach.

Where possible, we would encourage settings to stay open for this purpose throughout the Easter holidays.

Many universities and other higher education institutions are already taking necessary steps to keep their staff and students safe and where possible keep providing education. We are confident vice-chancellors are making the right decisions and the Department for Education continues to support them in doing so.

Temporary suspension of Ofsted inspections

Ofsted is to temporarily suspend routine inspections of schools, colleges, early years settings, children’s social care providers and local authorities to reduce the burden on staff who are providing vital services to the nation in response to coronavirus.

Update on assessments and examinations

We can confirm that we will not go ahead with assessments or exams, and that we will not be publishing performance tables for this academic year.

We will work with the sector and Ofqual to ensure children get the qualifications they need.

My Department is working closely with local authorities, representatives of early years, schools and head teachers, regional school commissioners and bodies such as Ofsted and Ofqual about how to deliver this change as effectively as possible.

And we will do whatever is necessary to support local authorities, settings, schools and teachers through the weeks and months ahead.

Free school meal provision

We will give schools the flexibility to provide meals or vouchers to children eligible for free school meals. Some schools are already doing this, and we will reimburse the costs. As soon as possible, we will put in place a national voucher system. 

Thank you once again for everything you are doing at this difficult time.

The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP

Secretary of State for Education

Update: 19/03/20

Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, has asked for this message to be passed to all those who work in the education sector

The government recognises the huge importance of the role you have played in maintaining the education, training and social care of our children and young people during this challenging time. I recognise that you will have the same anxieties as the rest of the country about your health and that of your families. On behalf of the Prime Minister and the entire government, I thank you all for all of your work so far, and your continued support. I am deeply grateful for the civic spirit and dedication of everyone working in education, and I will continue to provide my full support throughout this crisis.

Next steps

It is clear that education and children’s social care settings are increasingly finding it difficult to continue as normal, as illness and self-isolation impacts on staffing levels and pupil attendance. To provide parents, student and staff with the certainty they need we are announcing that schools, colleges and early years settings will be closed to everyone except children of key workers and vulnerable children from Monday, as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus.

Examples of these workers include NHS staff, police and delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work. Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans.

A full list of key worker categories will be published by the Cabinet Office tomorrow.

Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care.

Where schools are unable to provide this reduced provision, local authorities will work with the Department for Education’s regional teams to ensure an alternative option is available.

We are expecting early years providers and sixth form and further education colleges to do the same. We are working with Her Majesty’s Treasury on the financial support required. We are also asking that independent schools and boarding schools follow the same approach.

Where possible, we would encourage settings to stay open for this purpose throughout the Easter holidays.

Many universities and other higher education institutions are already taking necessary steps to keep their staff and students safe and where possible keep providing education. We are confident vice-chancellors are making the right decisions and the Department for Education continues to support them in doing so.

Temporary suspension of Ofsted inspections

Ofsted is to temporarily suspend routine inspections of schools, colleges, early years settings, children’s social care providers and local authorities to reduce the burden on staff who are providing vital services to the nation in response to coronavirus.

Update on assessments and examinations

We can confirm that we will not go ahead with assessments or exams, and that we will not be publishing performance tables for this academic year.

We will work with the sector and Ofqual to ensure children get the qualifications they need.

My Department is working closely with local authorities, representatives of early years, schools and head teachers, regional school commissioners and bodies such as Ofsted and Ofqual about how to deliver this change as effectively as possible.

And we will do whatever is necessary to support local authorities, settings, schools and teachers through the weeks and months ahead.

Free school meal provision

We will give schools the flexibility to provide meals or vouchers to children eligible for free school meals. Some schools are already doing this, and we will reimburse the costs. As soon as possible, we will put in place a national voucher system. 

Thank you once again for everything you are doing at this difficult time.

The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP

Secretary of State for Education

Update 18/03/20

his is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

New guidance for households with symptoms

Yesterday, the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
  • if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
  • A new, continuous cough

The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here:

The Prime Minister’s statement from Monday 16 March can be found here:

Temporary suspension of Ofsted inspections

Ofsted is to temporarily suspend routine inspections of schools, colleges, early years settings, children’s social care providers and local authorities to reduce the burden on staff who are providing vital services to the nation in response to coronavirus.

The current medical and scientific advice is for schools and other educational establishments to stay open. If this changes and the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser say closing schools, colleges, and early years settings is in the best interests of children and teachers the Department will take that step.

The full announcement made by Gavin Williamson can be viewed here:

Updated guidance on recording school pupil absences

No school will be penalised for the impact on school attendance of coronavirus (COVID-19). Please record absences as follows:

  • Where a pupil cannot attend school due to illness, as would normally happen, the pupil should be recorded as absent in the attendance register and the school will authorise the absence. Code I (Illness) should be used in this instance.
  • Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, the pupil should be recorded as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances in the attendance register. Code Y (Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances) should be used in this instance.
  • Where a pupil does not attend school and is not self-isolating, the pupil will be marked as absent. We back headteachers’ judgement and to be pragmatic – having spoken to parents – on whether to authorise such absence, taking into account individual circumstances. We expect, in particular, headteachers will authorise absence where a pupil is not able to attend because of an underlying health condition that means they, or a family member in their household, are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance:

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Where to find the latest information

Update 16/03/20

 
 

Updated guidance for education settings on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Today, the Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for education settings on COVID-19. This guidance will assist staff in addressing COVID-19 in educational settings. This includes childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions.

What you need to know:

  • staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
  • if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
  • clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
  • supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues

The updated guidance can be found here:

Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce would be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to education or children’s social care settings will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.

Recording school pupil absences

Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, the pupil should be recorded as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances in the attendance register. Code Y (Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances) should be used in this instance.

If a pupil does not attend school, despite the school operating as usual and the pupil is not self-isolating, they should be marked as absent. It is for headteachers to determine whether or not the absence is authorised depending on the individual circumstances.

Where a pupil cannot attend school due to illness, as normally would happen, the pupil should be recorded as absent in the attendance register and the school will authorise the absence. Code I (Illness) should be used in this instance.

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance:

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends.

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Where to find the latest information

Updates on COVID-19:

Guidance for educational settings:

Guidance for social or community care and residential settings:

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:

Educational resources:

Latest Department for Education information:

Please keep your GIAS school contacts up to date

If you work in a school, please take this opportunity to review your contact information in Get Information About Schools (GIAS).

To update your record, please go to the GIAS home page, “Sign in” using your “DfE Sign-in” credentials and select GIAS from your available services here:

 

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