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Coronavirus - updated advice 1 September 2020

The Department for Education (DfE) is continuing to update on the government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

 

Educational settings status form to resume today

Schools and colleges are asked to resume completing a revised daily educational setting status form. We ask that you complete the form by 12 noon daily.

Further guidance on completing the educational setting status form can be found in the guidance on recording attendance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Updated guidance for schools on full opening from the autumn term

We have updated our guidance for schools on full opening from the start of the autumn term to provide information on the support available to schools when sourcing supply teachers and details on the framework for supporting transport to and from schools.

We have also provided information on the measures to take when teaching music, the performing arts, sports and physical education in schools and the provision of wraparound care and extra-curricular activities.

Provision of food in schools from the start of the autumn term

From the start of the autumn term, school kitchens will be open and the normal legal requirements will apply regarding provision of food for all pupils who want it. This includes children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals. All food provided should meet the school food standards.

If children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals are required to stay at home due to coronavirus (COVID-19), they should be offered meals or food parcels which meet the school food standards. These could be offered on a daily or weekly basis and be collected or delivered to the child’s home. All meals should be distributed in line with guidance on social distancing.

Drinking water must also be provided free of charge at all times to registered pupils on the school premises. Schools should consider the most appropriate way to do this if, for public health reasons, pupils do not have access to water fountains. Schools should take steps to limit the use of single-use plastic water bottles.

Further information is available in the guidance on providing school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Updated guidance for further education providers on returning in the autumn term

We have updated our guidance for further education providers on returning in the autumn term to include information on the provision of education in areas experiencing local outbreaks of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures to take when teaching music, the performing arts and physical education.

We have also added additional information on managing confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), the use of face coverings in further education institutions and the flexibilities for traineeships in 2020 to 2021.

Schools and further education institutions to receive delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE)

Schools and further education institutions are receiving a delivery of a small amount of personal protective equipment (PPE). This one-off distribution of PPE will contain clinical face masks, aprons, gloves and visors, as well as the hand sanitiser needed to put on and take off PPE. The PPE is being provided free of charge by the Department of Health and Social Care to help build resilience across the education sector to respond to any suspected cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) arising in schools and colleges. Deliveries, which began on 26 August, are packaged by Clipper and delivered by Royal Mail. Visors will be sent as a separate delivery from the rest of the PPE.

As set out in our guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children's social care settings, PPE is only needed if a child, young person or other learner becomes ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in school or college, and only then if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

From 10 September, schools or further education institutions that have not received their deliveries of free PPE will be able to notify the department using an online form. The form will be available from 10 to 30 September. Before completing this form, we ask that you first contact your local Royal Mail office to check for any undelivered parcels.

Guidance for schools on local restrictions

All pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term. We have asked that every school plans for the possibility of local restrictions and how they will ensure continuity of education in exceptional circumstances where there is some level of restriction applied to education or childcare in a local area. The Department of Health and Social Care has updated their Contain framework to include an overview of the tiers of intervention for educational settings when managing local outbreaks and implementing restrictions. These ‘tiers of intervention’ will ensure that extensive limitations on education and childcare are a last resort, and that priority is given to vulnerable children and children of critical workers for face-to-face provision in all cases.

If required, Tier 2 intervention would require secondary schools to adopt a rota system and further education colleges to limit on-site attendance, whilst all other settings, including alternative provision and special schools, remain fully open. We have published guidance for schools on tier 2 local restrictions to help decision makers plan for a tier 2 rota model if required.

Coronavirus Act 2020 – Notices to temporarily remove or relax statutory requirements in education and childcare

The Secretary of State for Education has previously issued notices, under the Coronavirus Act 2020, to temporarily remove or relax specified statutory requirements (and provisions in academy arrangements). The most recent notices were issued on 28 July 2020. The specified period in which those notices applied was from 1 August 2020 to 31 August 2020.

The Secretary of State for Education has reviewed the notices and decided to issue new notices with the same effect (applying from 1 September 2020 to 30 September) to:

·         modify pupil registration requirements so that a child is not to be registered as a pupil at a school merely because education is provided for them at the school on a temporary basis for reasons connected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

·         disapply the duty on Ofsted to undertake routine inspections of state-funded schools within prescribed intervals. Duties on other bodies to provide a statement of action and relating to the inspection of collective worship and denominational education are also disapplied.

We will continuously review whether these notices are an appropriate and proportionate action in all the circumstances relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). Further notices may be made as a result.

Exam Results Helpline now available until 18 September

The Exam Results Helpline, delivered by the National Careers Service, has been extended and will now be available until 18 September to provide additional support to students and their parents as they consider their next steps. Callers to the helpline will have direct access to experienced careers advisers who can advise on the different options available to them including T levels, A levels, GCSEs, BTECs, apprenticeships and other vocational options. Support will also be available on topics such as clearing, university, gap years and the autumn exam series.

Phone: 0800 100 900

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8am to 10pm

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 by calling:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.