Coronavirus: School Closures

For the latest medical advice, visit NHS.uk/Coronavirus.

On 18 March 2020, the Education Secretary announced schools would be closed for the vast majority of pupils until further notice. You can find out more here.

They will remain closed until further notice except for children of key workers and vulnerable children, as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus. A list of key workers can be found here.

Examples of these workers include NHS staff, police and supermarket delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work to support the country’s fight to tackle coronavirus. Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans – a legal document that describes a child’s special educational needs and the support they require. Where possible, the Government will encourage settings to also look after key workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care. Children should not be looked after by older grandparents or relatives who may be particularly vulnerable to the virus.

For those children who rely on free school meals the Government will ensure that meals and vouchers are available. The government has also confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals, recognising that families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore incur higher costs. You can find out more here.

The Government have asked nurseries, colleges and private schools to follow the Government’s lead in closing except for the children of key workers.

Exams will not take place as planned in May. More information can be found here. Ofqual has set out details about how GCSEs, AS and A levels will be awarded this summer and published further guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers.

OLIO has launched a #Cool4KIds campaign  where you can either help prepare school lunches or pick up lunches. 

On 09 June 2020, it was announced that whilst primary schools won’t be required to open for all years for a month before summer, schools with the capacity will be able to welcome back some more children before the holidays.

On 10 May 2020, it was announced that from the week commencing 1 June, the Government are asking:

  • nurseries and other early year providers, including childminders, to begin welcoming back all children
  • primary schools to welcome back children in nursery (where they have them), reception, year 1 and year 6
  • secondary schools, sixth form, and further education colleges to begin some face to face support with year 10 and 12 pupils, although we do not expect these pupils to return on a full-time basis at this stage
  • all schools and childcare providers to continue to offer places to the priority groups – vulnerable children and children of critical workers – they have been supporting since the end of March
  • special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools to work towards a phased return of more children and young people without a focus on specific year groups and informed by risk assessments
  • alternative provision to welcome back children in reception, year 1 and year 6 and begin some face to face support with year 10 and 11 pupils (as they have no year 12)

You can find out more information on the opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June here.

The Government has announced a £1 billion Covid “catch-up” package which aims to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. £650 million will be shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020/21 academic year, expected to be spent on small group tuition. Separately, a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people over the 2020/21 academic year.

A Covid Summer Food Fund to help support disadvantaged children during the summer months has been announced which will provide food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period to eligible families at the end of the summer term. 

Resources

    The Department for Education has produced a list of online education resources for home education which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education

    The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published new advice to help people, particularly children, stay safe online during the coronavirus outbreak. The guidance sets out a four-point plan and recommends reviewing security and safety settings, checking facts and guarding against disinformation, being vigilant against fraud and scams, and managing the amount of time spent online.

    The County Council is sharing a free e-book, written by a Southampton nurse, for parents and carers to read with younger children to help them understand coronavirus and the rules they must follow to stay safe. The e-book will be promoted by the Library Service on social media.

    Bitesize Daily will deliver a daily tailored programme of learning across BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Bitesize website and app, BBC Four and BBC Sounds, with curriculum relevant offers across the UK.  

    Ten Pieces a long-running school music programme by the BBC that introduces 7-14 year olds to the world of classical music, has launched two new major initiatives ensuring children can continue to get creative and enjoy music this summer term.

    In order to assist home educators, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has made its extensive range of exciting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) activities and resources available, free to all children and parents. The education materials can be accessed at:

    Keep your kids inspired this with #ShakespeareAtHome from the Primary Shakespeare Company with more than 150 fun, FREE, curriculum-based resources at http://primaryshakespearecompany.org/tempest