Gallow Field Road
Foxton
Market Harborough
Leicestershire
LE16 7QZ

Telephone: 01858 545 328

Covid

Guidance for Full Opening: Schools – DfE 27th July 2020

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#A

 

It is our plan that all pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the Autumn Term – Wednesday 26th July (Fox Cubs will have a staggered start because induction couldn’t happen in June/July).

 

Justification for the Full Opening of Schools

 

The prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased, our NHS Test and Trace system is up and running, and we are clear about the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments within schools.

 

Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn, and therefore we need to ensure all pupils can return to school sooner rather than later.

 

The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. We know that school is a vital point of contact for public health and safeguarding services that are critical to the wellbeing of children and families.

 

Lower academic achievement also translates into long-term economic costs due to having a less well-qualified workforce. This affects the standard of living that today’s pupils will have over the course of their entire life. For many households, school closures have also affected their ability to work. As the economy begins to recover, we need to remove this barrier so parents and carers can return to work.

 

In relation to working in schools, whilst it is not possible to ensure a totally risk-free environment, the Office of National Statistics’ analysis on coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths linked to occupations suggests that staff in educational settings tend not to be at any greater risk from the disease than many other occupations. There is no evidence that children transmit the disease any more than adults.

 

Given the improved position, the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), and this guidance explains the steps schools need to take to reduce risks still further. As a result, we can plan for all children to return and start to reverse the enormous costs of missed education. This will be an important move back towards normal life for many children and families.

 

The measures set out in this guidance provide a framework for school leaders to put in place proportionate protective measures for children and staff, which also ensure that all pupils receive a high quality education that enables them to thrive and progress. In welcoming all children back this autumn, schools will be asked to minimise the number of contacts that a pupil has during the school day as part of implementing the system of controls outlined below to reduce the risk of transmission. If schools follow the guidance set out here and maximise control measures, they can be confident they are managing risk effectively.

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

 

Essential measures include:

 

  • a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
  • robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  • enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
  • formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable

 

Contacts will be reduced by:

 

  • grouping children together
  • 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

Leader

Mrs Bratu

Assistant

Mrs Lawrence

Start of the Day

From 8:40am – Walk around to the Hall Door.

End of the Day

11:40am – Collect from usual entrance gate.

 

Fox Cubs

Teachers

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

Assistants

Mrs Smith and Mrs Cole

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Lawrence

Lunchtime

Noon – 12:30pm Hall 12:30pm – 12:55pm Outside

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 / Near Half Field.

 

Year 1 and 2

Teacher

Mr Lambden

Assistants

Mrs Thurlby and Mrs Bratu

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Bratu

Lunchtime

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

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 / Near Half Field.

 

Year 3 and 4

Teachers

Mr Clark, Mrs Hickie, Mrs Foster (W am) & Mr Evans

Assistants

Mr Cruickshank (M,T,W,T) & Miss Warwick (W,T,F)

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Soper

Lunchtime

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

Start of the Day

From 8:45am – 9:00am – Year 3 and 4 Cloakroom then outside and in through Year 1 and 2 Cloakroom.

End of the Day

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

Playground / Field

10:15am Back Playground / Far Half Field

 

Year 5 and 6

Teachers

Mrs Frow, Igor & Mrs Hickie

Assistants

Mrs Oakden, Mrs Silber (M,T,W,T) & Mr Cruickshank (F)

Midday Supervisor

Mrs Silber

Lunchtime

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

Start of the Day

From 8:45am – 9:00am – Year 5 and 6.

End of the Day

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

Playground / Field

10:40am Back Playground / Far Half Field

 

Breakfast Club and After School Care

 

Although the guidance acknowledges that extra-curricular provision will involve children from a mixture of year groups we need to survey to find out the demand – numbers from which year groups and what days.  We will then be able to plan space and staff.  Therefore, I propose that if Breakfast Club and After School will not start until Monday 7th September at the earliest.

 

 

 


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

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 8:45am – 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

 

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

 

 

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 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 7am 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

 


 

Fire Arrangements

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

Children in Fox Cubs

Exit through the double doors.

Congregate 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

 

Weekly 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 the possibility of a local lockdown and how they will ensure continuity of education.

 

  • Staff to communicate to pupils via Purple Mash.
  • 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 Facebook group.

 

 

 

 

 

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) clean hands thoroughly more often than usual

 

3) ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach

 

4) introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach

 

5) minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible

 

6) where necessary, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

 

Numbers 1 to 4 must be in place in all schools, all the time.

 

Number 5 must be properly considered and schools must put in place measures that suit their particular circumstances.

 

Number 6 applies in specific circumstances.

 

Response to any infection:

7) engage with the NHS Test and Trace process

 

8) manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community

 

9) contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice

 

Numbers 7 to 9 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 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 ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’, which sets out that they should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

If they have tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develop symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day they develop symptoms.

 

Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.

 

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 bathroom if possible. The bathroom 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 members of staff who have helped someone with symptoms and any pupils who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test) or if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive (see below) or they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

 

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 with normal household bleach 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 is clear that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is not recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

  1. 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

 

  1. 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-Bug 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.

 

Public Health England does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in schools. This evidence will be kept under review. They are not required in schools as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. There may also be negative effects on communication and thus education. Face coverings are required at all times on public transport (except children under the age of 11), when attending a hospital as a visitor or outpatient, or when in a shop or a supermarket.

 

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

 

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

 

  1. 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 distance between individuals. These are not alternative options and both measures will help, but the balance between them will change depending on:

 

  • children’s ability to distance
  • the lay out of the school
  • the feasibility of keeping distinct groups separate while offering a broad curriculum (especially at secondary)
  • It is likely that for younger children the emphasis will be on separating groups, and for older children it will be on distancing. For children old enough, they should also be supported to maintain distance and not touch staff where possible.

 

Points to consider and implement:

 

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 in schools in the summer term in recognition that children, and 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.

 

However, the use of small groups restricts the normal operation of schools and presents both educational and logistical challenges, including the cleaning and use of shared spaces, such as playgrounds, boarding houses, dining halls, and toilets, and the provision of specialist teaching. This is the case in both primary and secondary schools, but is particularly difficult in secondary schools.

 

In this guidance for the Autumn Term, maintaining consistent groups remains important, but given the decrease in the prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the resumption of the full range of curriculum subjects, schools may need to change the emphasis on bubbles within their system of controls and increase the size of these groups.

 

At primary school, and in the younger years at secondary (key stage 3), schools may be able to implement smaller groups the size of a full class. If that can be achieved, it is recommended, as this will help to reduce the number of people who could be asked to isolate should someone in a group become ill with coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

Schools should assess their circumstances and if class-sized groups are not compatible with offering a full range of subjects or managing the practical logistics within and around school, they can look to implement year group sized ‘bubbles’. Whatever the size of the group, they 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, sharing of rooms and social spaces between groups as much as possible. When using larger groups the other measures from the system of controls become even more important, to minimise transmission risks and to minimise the numbers of pupils and staff who may need to self-isolate. 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. Some schools may keep children in their class groups for the majority of the classroom time, but also allow mixing into wider groups for specialist teaching, wraparound care and transport, or for boarding pupils in one group residentially and another during the school day. 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 classes and year groups in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable. This will be particularly important for secondary schools. Where staff need to move between classes and year 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 to enable a full educational offer.

 

Measures within the classroom

Maintaining a distance between people whilst inside and reducing the amount of time they are in face to face to contact lowers the risk of transmission. It 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 the smaller, class-sized groups described above.

 

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.

 

 

Measures elsewhere

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

 

When timetabling, 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.

 

Measures for arriving at and leaving school

We know that travel to school patterns differ greatly between schools. If those patterns allow, schools should consider staggered starts or adjusting start and finish times to keep groups apart as they arrive and leave school. Staggered start and finish times should not reduce the amount of overall teaching time. A staggered start may, for example, include condensing/staggering free periods or break time but retaining the same amount of teaching time, or keeping the length of the day the same but starting and finishing later to avoid rush hour. Schools should consider how to communicate this to parents and remind them about the process that has been agreed for drop off and collection, including that gathering at the school gates and otherwise coming onto the site without an appointment is not allowed. The Department for Education will be supporting schools across the summer on how best to communicate with parents and pupils (and staff) on what to expect on their return and the procedures and expectations in relation to the control measures schools have put in place.

 

Schools should also have a process for removing face coverings when pupils and staff who use them arrive at school and communicate it clearly to them. Pupils must be instructed not to touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing it. They must wash their hands immediately on arrival (as is the case for all pupils), dispose of temporary face coverings in a covered 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. Guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care provides more advice.

 

Other considerations

Some pupils with SEND (whether with education, health and care plans or on SEN support) will need specific help and preparation for the changes to routine that this will involve, so teachers and special educational needs coordinators should plan to meet these needs, for example using social stories. More information on pupils with education, health and care plans can be found in Annex B.

 

Supply teachers, peripatetic teachers and/or other temporary staff can move between schools. They should ensure they minimise contact and maintain as much distance as possible from other staff. 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 as part of planning for the autumn term. 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.

As normal, schools should engage with their local immunisation providers to provide immunisation programmes on site, ensuring these will be delivered in keeping with the school’s control measures. These programmes are essential for children’s health and wellbeing and can also provide benefits for staff.

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. During the Summer Term, their use was minimised, many were moved out of classrooms, and there was significant extra cleaning. That position has now changed for the Autumn Term, because prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased and because they are so important for the delivery of education. 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 bubble; these should be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces. Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, such as sports, art and science equipment should be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between bubbles, 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.

 

  1. 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 involves 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

 

  1. Engage with the NHS Test and Trace process

 

Schools must ensure they understand the NHS Test and Trace process and how to contact their local Public Health England health protection team. Schools must ensure that staff members and parents/carers understand that they will need to be ready and willing to:

 

  • book a test if they or their child are displaying symptoms. 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, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/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)
  • Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. 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, which includes anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to testing.

 

The government will ensure that it is as easy as possible to get a test through a wide range of routes that are locally accessible, fast and convenient. We will release more details on new testing avenues as and when they become available and will work with schools so they understand what the quickest and easiest way is to get a test. By the Autumn Term, all schools will be provided with a small number of home testing kits that they can give directly to parents/carers collecting a child who has developed symptoms at school, or staff who have developed symptoms at school, where they think providing one will significantly increase the likelihood of them getting tested. Advice will be provided alongside these kits.

 

Schools should ask parents and staff to inform them immediately of the results of a test:

 

  • if someone tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating.

 

  • if someone tests positive, they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms 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. The 10-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days.

 

  1. 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). Schools should contact the local health protection team. This team will also contact schools directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the school – as identified by NHS Test and Trace.

 

The health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.

 

The health protection team will work with schools in this situation to guide them through the actions they need to take. Based on the advice from the health protection team, 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 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious. Close contact means:

 

  • direct close contacts - face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin)
  • proximity contacts - extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual
  • travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person

 

The health protection team will provide definitive 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 5 of 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.

 

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 their 14-day isolation period, they should follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’. They should get a test, and:

 

  • if the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period. This is because they could still develop the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.
  • if the test result is positive, they should inform their setting immediately, and should isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 14-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following ‘stay at home: 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.

 

Further guidance is available on testing and tracing for coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

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

 

If schools have two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, they may have an outbreak, and must continue to work with their local health protection team who will be able to 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

Attendance expectations

In March when the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was increasing, we made clear no parent would be penalised or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at school.

Now the circumstances have changed and it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.

Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:

  • parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age;
  • schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
  • the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct

Pupils who are shielding or self-isolating

We now know much more about coronavirus (COVID-19) and so in future there will be far fewer children and young people advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the majority of pupils will be able to return to school. You should note however that:

  • a small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding. Read the current advice on shielding
  • if rates of the disease rise in local areas, children (or family members) from that area, and that area only, will be advised to shield during the period where rates remain high and therefore they may be temporarily absent (see below).
  • some pupils no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school (usually at their next planned clinical appointment). You can find more advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health at COVID-19 - ‘shielding’ guidance for children and young people

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Schools should monitor engagement with this activity (as set out in the section below).

Where children are not able to attend school as parents are following clinical and/or public health advice, absence will not be penalised.

 

 

Pupils and families who are anxious about return to school

All other pupils must attend school. Schools should bear in mind the potential concerns of pupils, parents and households who may be reluctant or anxious about returning and put the right support in place to address this. This may include pupils who have themselves been shielding previously but have been advised that this is no longer necessary, those living in households where someone is clinically vulnerable, or those concerned about the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds or who have certain conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

If parents of pupils with significant risk factors are concerned, we recommend schools discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk in school. Schools should be clear with parents that pupils of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason applies (for example, the pupil has been granted a leave of absence, is unable to attend because of sickness, is absent for a necessary religious observance etc.).

 

Action for all schools and local authorities

We are asking schools to work with families to secure regular school attendance from the start of term as this will be essential to help pupils catch up on missed education, make progress and promote their wellbeing and wider development.

We are asking schools and local authorities to:

  • communicate clear and consistent expectations around school attendance to families (and any other professionals who work with the family where appropriate) throughout the summer ahead of the new school year
  • identify pupils who are reluctant or anxious about returning or who are at risk of disengagement and develop plans for re-engaging them. This should include disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people, especially those who were persistently absent prior to the pandemic or who have not engaged with school regularly during the pandemic
  • use the additional catch-up funding schools will receive, as well as existing pastoral and support services, attendance staff and resources and schools’ pupil premium funding to put measures in place for those families who will need additional support to secure pupils’ regular attendance
  • work closely with other professionals as appropriate to support the return to school, including continuing to notify the child’s social worker, if they have one, of non-attendance

We will issue further technical guidance for schools to record attendance and absence, including what data schools will be asked to return to the department.

 

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 when planning for full return in September.

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. Rates of community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) are now reduced to levels below those seen when shielding was introduced, and shielding measures will be paused from 1 August 2020, with the exception of areas where local lockdown means that shielding will continue. It is therefore appropriate for teachers and other school staff to return to their workplace setting. Accordingly, we expect that staff who need to will attend school.

From 1 August, wider government policy on going to work is expected to change, with employers to be given more discretion about where staff work. 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 part 5 of the ‘Prevention’ section.

School leaders should explain to staff the measures the school is putting in place to reduce risks. We anticipate adherence to the measures in this guidance will provide the necessary reassurance for staff to return to schools.

If staff are concerned, including those who may be clinically vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable or at increased comparative 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

Rates of community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) are now reduced to levels below those seen when shielding was introduced. Shielding measures will therefore be paused from the 1 August 2020, with the exception of areas where local lockdown means that shielding will continue. Therefore, we advise that those who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to school in September 2020 provided their school has implemented the system of controls outlined in this document, in line with the school’s own workplace risk assessment. In all respects, the clinically extremely vulnerable should now follow the same guidance as the clinically vulnerable population, taking particular care to practise frequent, thorough hand washing, and cleaning of frequently touched areas in their home and/or workspace.

 

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. Employers should conduct a risk assessment for pregnant women in line with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW).

The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) has published occupational health advice for employers and pregnant women. This document includes advice for women from 28 weeks gestation or with underlying health conditions who may be at greater risk. We advise employers and pregnant women to follow this advice and to continue to monitor for future updates to it.

 

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.

 

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 short-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.

We recommend that schools continue to recruit remotely over the summer period. 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.

When recruiting, schools must continue to adhere to the legal requirements regarding pre-appointment checks. We refer schools to part 3 of the statutory guidance keeping children safe in education. During the summer, safeguarding checks can be carried out remotely as set out in coronavirus (COVID-19): safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers. From the start of the autumn term checks will revert to being carried out in person. 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 the Department for Education 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 being offered to some 2,000 NQTs from the autumn. 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. 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.

Supply staff and other temporary workers can move between schools, but school leaders will want to consider how to minimise the number of visitors to the school where possible. 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, including taking particular care to maintain distance from other staff and pupils. To minimise the numbers of temporary staff entering the school premises, and secure best value, schools may wish to use longer assignments with supply teachers and agree a minimum number of hours across the academic year. This advice for supply teachers also applies to other temporary staff working in schools such as support staff working on a supply basis, peripatetic teachers such as sports coaches, and those engaged to deliver before and after school clubs.

 

Expectation and deployment of ITT trainees

We strongly encourage schools to consider hosting ITT trainees. Demand for teacher training is high this year and, while it is understandable that schools will have prioritised other activity, there is a risk that insufficient training places will be available. ITT trainees have the potential to play a significant role in supporting schools. Schools should consider how they could host ITT trainees, 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 across or within years, adapting resources for such groups, creating online learning 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.

 

Staff taking leave

We recognise that school staff have been working extremely hard throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and will be working hard to prepare for all pupils to return from the start of the Autumn Term. Many staff will want to take a holiday over the summer period, which may involve travelling abroad. The government has set a requirement for people returning from some countries to quarantine for 14 days on their return. The latest guidance on quarantine can be accessed at coronavirus (COVID-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK.

As would usually be the case, staff will need to be available to work in school from the start of the Autumn Term. We recommend that school leaders discuss leave arrangements with staff before the end of the Summer Term to inform planning for the Autumn Term.

There is a risk that where staff travel abroad, their return travel arrangements could be disrupted due to factors arising beyond their control in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19), such as the potential for reinstatement of lockdown measures in the place they are visiting.

Where it is not possible to avoid a member of staff having to quarantine during term time, school leaders should consider if it is possible to temporarily amend working arrangements to enable them to work from home.

 

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 and colleges are utilising 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 should consider revising their child protection policy (led by their Designated Safeguarding Lead) to reflect the return of more pupils. Schools must have regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance, keeping children safe in education and should refer to the coronavirus (COVID-19): safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers guidance.

Designated safeguarding leads (and deputies) should be provided with more time, especially in the first few weeks of term, to help them provide support to staff and children regarding any new safeguarding and welfare concerns and the handling of referrals to children’s social care and other agencies where these are appropriate, and agencies and services should prepare to work together to actively look for signs of harm.

Communication with school nurses is important for safeguarding and supporting wellbeing, as they have continued virtual support to pupils who have not been in school.

 

Catering

We expect that kitchens will be fully open from the start of the autumn term and normal legal requirements will apply about provision of food to all pupils who want it, including for those eligible for benefits-related free school meals or universal infant free school meals.

School kitchens can continue to operate, but must comply with the guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

Estates

Schools should look to maximise the use of their site and any associated available space, such as rooms in an associated place of worship for schools with a religious character, if feasible. We do not, however, consider it necessary for schools to make significant adaptations to their site to enable them to welcome all children back to school. We also do not think schools will need to deliver any of their education on other sites (such as community centres and village halls) because class sizes can return to normal and spaces used by more than one class or group can be cleaned between use. Following a risk assessment, some schools may determine that small adaptations to their site are required, such as additional wash basins. This will be at the discretion of individual schools, based on their particular circumstances.

It is important that, prior to reopening for the Autumn Term, all the usual pre-term building checks are undertaken to make the school safe. If buildings have been closed or had reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, 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.

 

Additional advice on safely reoccupying buildings can be found in the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers’ guidance on emerging from lockdown.

Once the school is in operation, it is important to ensure good ventilation and maximising this wherever possible, for example, opening windows and propping open doors, as long as they are not fire doors, where safe to do so (bearing in mind safeguarding in particular). Advice on this can be found in Health and Safety Executive guidance on air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Educational visits

We continue to advise against domestic (UK) overnight and overseas educational visits at this stage see coronavirus: travel guidance for educational settings.

In the Autumn Term, schools can resume non-overnight domestic educational visits. These trips should include any trips for pupils with SEND connected with their preparation for adulthood (for example, workplace visits, travel training etc.). This should be done in line with protective measures, such as keeping children within their consistent group, and the COVID-secure measures in place at the destination. Schools should also make use of outdoor spaces in the local area to support delivery of the curriculum. As normal, schools should undertake full and thorough risk assessments in relation to all educational visits to ensure they can be done safely. As part of this risk assessment, schools will need to consider what control measures need to be used and ensure they are aware of wider advice on visiting indoor and outdoor venues. Schools should consult the health and safety guidance on educational visits when considering visits.

 

School uniform

It is for the governing body of a school (or the academy trust, in the case of academies) to make decisions regarding school uniform. Some schools may have relaxed their uniform policy while only certain categories of pupils were attending. We would, however, encourage all schools to return to their usual uniform policies in the Autumn Term. Uniform can play a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone.

Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.

Schools should consider how pupil non-compliance is managed, taking a mindful and considerate approach in relation to parents who may be experiencing financial pressures.

 

Extra-curricular provision

Schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the autumn term. We recognise that schools may need to respond flexibly and build this up over time. Such provision will help ensure pupils have opportunities to re-engage with their peers and with the school, ensure vulnerable children have a healthy breakfast and are ready to focus on their lessons, provide enrichment activities, and also support working parents.

We recognise that this will be logistically challenging for schools, particularly for clubs that would normally offer support across year groups, where parents are using multiple providers, or where childminders are picking up/dropping off pupils. Schools should carefully consider how they can make such provision work alongside their wider protective measures, including keeping children within their year groups or bubbles where possible. If it is not possible to maintain bubbles being used during the school day then schools should use small, consistent groups.

Schools can consult the guidance produced for summer holiday childcare, available at Protective measures for out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as much of this will be useful in planning extra-curricular provision. This includes schools advising parents to limit the number of different wraparound providers they access, as far as possible. Where parents use childcare providers or out of school activities for their children, schools should encourage them to seek assurance that the providers are carefully considering their own protective measures, and only use those providers that can demonstrate this. As with physical activity during the school day, contact sports should not take place.

Curriculum expectations

This section sets out some key principles and expectations for curriculum planning in school based nursery, mainstream and special schools, and alternative provision (AP), so that all pupils – particularly disadvantaged, SEND and vulnerable pupils – are given the catch-up support needed to make substantial progress by the end of the academic year.

The key principles that underpin our advice on curriculum planning are:

  • education is not optional: all pupils receive a high-quality education that promotes their development and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
  • the curriculum remains broad and ambitious: all pupils continue to be taught a wide range of subjects, maintaining their choices for further study and employment.
  • remote education, where needed, is high quality and aligns as closely as possible with in-school provision: schools and other settings continue to build their capability to educate pupils remotely, where this is needed.

Informed by these principles, DfE asks that schools and other settings meet the following key expectations if considering revisions to their school curriculum for academic year 2020 to 2021:

Teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the Autumn Term, but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content: Up to and including key stage 3, prioritisation within subjects of the most important components for progression is likely to be more effective than removing subjects, which pupils may struggle to pick up again later. In particular, schools may consider how all subjects can contribute to the filling of gaps in core knowledge, for example through an emphasis on reading

Aim to return to the school’s normal curriculum in all subjects by Summer Term 2021: Substantial modification to the curriculum may be needed at the start of the year, so teaching time should be prioritised to address significant gaps in pupils’ knowledge with the aim of returning to the school’s normal curriculum content by no later than summer term 2021.

Plan on the basis of the educational needs of pupils: Curriculum planning should be informed by an assessment of pupils’ starting points and addressing the gaps in their knowledge and skills, in particular making effective use of regular formative assessment (for example, quizzes, observing pupils in class, talking to pupils to assess understanding, scrutiny of pupils’ work) while avoiding the introduction of unnecessary tracking systems.

Develop remote education so that it is integrated into school curriculum planning: Remote education may need to be an essential component in the delivery of the school curriculum for some pupils, alongside classroom teaching, or in the case of a local lockdown. All schools are therefore expected to plan to ensure any pupils educated at home for some of the time are given the support they need to master the curriculum and so make good progress.

Schools may consider it appropriate to suspend some subjects for some pupils in exceptional circumstances. Schools should be able to show that this is in the best the interests of these pupils and this should be subject to discussion with parents during the Autumn Term. They should also have a coherent plan for returning to their normal curriculum for all pupils by the Summer Term 2021.

Relationships and health education (RHE) for primary aged pupils and relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) for secondary aged pupils becomes compulsory from September 2020, and schools are expected to start teaching by at least the start of the summer term 2021.

 

Specific points for early years foundation stage (EYFS) to key stage 3

For children in nursery settings, teachers should focus on the prime areas of learning, including: communication and language, personal, social and emotional development (PSED) and physical development. For pupils in Reception, teachers should also assess and address gaps in language, early reading and mathematics, particularly ensuring children’s acquisition of phonic knowledge and extending their vocabulary. Settings should follow updates to the EYFS disapplication guidance. For nursery settings and Reception, consider how all groups of children can be given equal opportunities for outdoor learning.

For pupils in key stages 1 and 2, school leaders are expected to prioritise identifying gaps and re-establish good progress in the essentials (phonics and reading, increasing vocabulary, writing and mathematics), identifying opportunities across the curriculum so they read widely, and developing their knowledge and vocabulary. The curriculum should remain broad, so that the majority of pupils are taught a full range of subjects over the year, including sciences, humanities, the arts, physical education/sport, religious education and relationships and health education.

 

Music

Schools should note that there may be an additional risk of infection in environments where you or others are singing, chanting, playing wind or brass instruments or shouting. This applies even if individuals are at a distance. Schools should consider how to reduce the risk, particularly when pupils are playing instruments or singing in small groups such as in music lessons by, for example, physical distancing and playing outside wherever possible, limiting group sizes to no more than 15, positioning pupils back-to-back or side-to-side, avoiding sharing of instruments, and ensuring good ventilation. Singing, wind and brass playing should not take place in larger groups such as school choirs and ensembles, or school assemblies. Further more detailed DfE guidance will be published shortly.

 

Physical activity in schools

Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided whilst 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, and contact sports avoided.

Outdoor sports should be prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not, maximising 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 in line with government guidance for the use of, and travel to and from, those facilities.

Schools should refer to the following advice:

  • guidance on the phased return of sport and recreation and guidance from Sport England for grassroot sport
  • advice from organisations such as the Association for Physical Education and the Youth Sport Trust

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.

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