Key highlighted points from GOV.uk latest below
Key points from guidance for parents/carers 11/05/2020
We anticipate with further progress that we may be able, from the week commencing 1 June, to welcome back more children to early years, school and further education settings. We will only do this provided that the 5 key tests set by government justify the changes at the time, including that the rate of infection is decreasing and the enabling programmes set out in the recovery strategy are operating effectively. As a result, we are asking schools, colleges and childcare providers to plan on this basis, ahead of confirmation that these tests are met.
We have been guided by scientific advice at every stage. The latest scientific advice to government is that:
- there is high scientific confidence that children of all ages have less severe symptoms than adults if they contract coronavirus and there is moderately high scientific confidence that younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with coronavirus
- limiting the numbers of children going back to school and college initially then gradually increasing numbers, guided by scientific advice, reduces risk of increasing the rate of transmission
- schools and other settings can make changes to how they are organised and put measures in place to reduce risks
We have provided advice to schools and other settings on the steps they should consider taking, this includes:
- limiting the amount of contact between different groups of children (such as smaller class sizes with children and staff spread out more)
- additional protective measures, such as increased cleaning and encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene
Primary schools to welcome back children in nursery (where they have them), reception, year 1 and year 6.
This does not include siblings in different year groups unless those siblings are in a priority group, for example, the children of critical workers.
We hope that all primary school children can come back to school before the summer holidays, for a month if feasible, although this will be kept under review. Reducing the risks for children and staff is our utmost priority.
To prevent the spread of coronavirus, schools and other settings will use a range of protective measures to create safer environments in which the risk of spreading the virus is substantially reduced. Whilst such changes are likely to look different in each setting, as they will depend upon individual circumstances, they are all designed to minimise risks to children, staff and their families.
Schools and other settings should communicate their plans to parents once they have had a chance to work through them in detail.
Approaches we are asking schools and other settings to take include:
carrying out a risk assessment before opening to more children and young people - the assessment should directly address risks associated with coronavirus so that sensible measures can be put in place to minimise those risks for children, young people and staff
- making sure that children and young people do not attend if they or a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus
- promoting regular hand washing for 20 seconds with running water and soap or use of sanitiser and ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the catch it, bin it, kill it approach
- cleaning more frequently to get rid of the virus on frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, handrails, tabletops, play equipment and toys
- minimising contact through smaller classes or group sizes and altering the environment as much as possible, such as changing the layout of classrooms
- reducing mixing between groups through timetable changes, such as staggered break times or by introducing staggered drop-off and collection times
If my child is eligible, is it compulsory for them to attend school?
We strongly encourage children and young people in the eligible year groups and priority groups (such as children of critical workers) to attend, as requested by their school or college, unless they are self-isolating or there are other reasons for absence (such as shielding due to health conditions).
You should notify your child’s school or college as normal if your child is unable to attend so that staff are aware and can discuss with you.
Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.
Educational settings should continue to offer places to priority groups. In particular, as per the existing guidance on supporting vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak, vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so. For children who have a social worker, attendance is expected unless their social worker decides that they are at less risk at home or in their placement. For children who have an education health and care (EHC) plan, attendance is expected where it is determined, following a risk assessment, that their needs can be as safely or more safely met in the educational environment.
When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus.
Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class/group within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days.
Will education be provided as normal to children and young people who are attending?
Education settings still have the flexibility to provide support and education to children and young people attending school in the way they see fit during this time.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that schools and childcare settings must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. Early years settings should use their best endeavours to deliver the learning and development requirements as far as possible in the current circumstances.
Schools and colleges continue to be best placed to make decisions about how to support and educate their pupils during this period. This will include:
- consideration of pupils’ mental health and wellbeing
- assessment of where pupils are in their learning in order to make any necessary adjustments to their curriculum over the coming weeks
- prioritisation of high needs groups and support for those in transition years
Schools and colleges should use their best endeavours to support pupils attending as well as those remaining at home, making use of the available remote education support.
How should my child travel to and from their childcare, school or college?
Children, young people and parents are encouraged to walk or cycle where possible and avoid public transport at peak times. The government will shortly publish guidance on how to travel safely, which schools, parents and young people can refer to when planning their travel, particularly if public transport is required.
Will school meals be available for children and young people who are in school?
Schools should provide meal options for all children who are in school, and meals should be available free of charge where pupils meet the free school meal eligibility criteria. To ensure food is available for pupils who attend, educational settings are expected to reopen their kitchens if they have closed and ensure staff are able to work safely.
Will childcare, schools and colleges keep their usual opening hours?
It is possible that some settings will make changes to their start and finish times or introduce processes for drop-off and collection times to keep children and families safe.
Start and finish times will be clearly communicated to parents and carers alongside any other new arrangements.