The Department for Education (DfE) is continuing to update on the government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Rule of six applies from Monday 14 September
From today, new laws prohibiting social gatherings of more than six people come into effect in England. The new ‘rule of six’ simplifies and strengthens the rules on social gatherings, making them easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce. It means that – apart from a set of limited exemptions including education and work – any social gatherings of more than six people indoors or outdoors will be against the law.
The approach schools, colleges and other educational settings should continue to follow is set out in our detailed guidance:
Responding to those with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
It is vital that educational settings only ask children or staff to self-isolate and recommend they get a test if they develop symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Those sent home to self-isolate, having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, should only get tested if they develop symptoms themselves. 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. Testing capacity is the highest it has ever been, but there is a significant demand for tests. Booking is essential for drive in and walk in test sites, and under 18s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
In line with our guidance, the home test kits supplied to schools and colleges must be reserved for those who face significant barriers to accessing a test and would not otherwise get tested. Schools and college can order additional test kits if they have run out, or are running out, of test kits. From 16 September, you can order additional tests kits via an online portal. Kits will be supplied in boxes of 10. The number of boxes available to each school or college will be proportionate to their size. You will be able to make a new order for test kits 21 days after you receive a delivery confirmation email telling you that your previous supply of test kits has been sent. You will need a Unique Organisation Number (UON) to place orders for test kits. This will be emailed to you by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on, or before, 16 September. After this date, please call the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119 if you have not received your UON.
Guidance on the actions an early years provider, school or college should take when responding to a child with symptoms or a positive case can be found in:
Schools and further education institutions receiving a delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE)
Schools and further education colleges have received a delivery of a small amount of personal protective equipment (PPE). This one-off distribution of PPE contains clinical face masks, aprons, gloves and visors, as well as the hand sanitiser needed to put on and take off PPE. The PPE has been provided free of charge by the DHSC 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, have been packaged by Clipper and delivered by Royal Mail. Visors have been sent as a separate delivery from the rest of the PPE.
Schools and colleges that have not received their deliveries of free PPE can notify the Department for Education using an online form. The form is available until 30 September. Before completing this form, we ask that you first contact your local Royal Mail office to check for any undelivered parcels.
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.
The information below hasn’t changed since our last update.
Exam Results Helpline available until 18 September
The Exam Results Helpline, delivered by the National Careers Service, has been extended and will 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 coronavirus (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
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm