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UPDATE 25.1.21

Department for Education

Initial teacher training (ITT): criteria and supporting advice update

We have updated the guidance on initial teacher training (ITT): criteria and supporting advice. We have updated section C1.3: ‘Other background checks’ to include links to changes to checks for EU sanctions on EEA teachers and recruiting teachers from overseas.

Publishing remote education information for parents

The remote education expectations were updated in December to ask schools to publish on their website information for parents on their provision for remote education by 25 January. An optional template is available to help you provide this information.

Guidance for staff testing in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools

Primary schools (including school-based nurseries) should expect to receive an initial delivery of home testing kits. If you have not received your delivery by Wednesday 27 January, please complete this contact form. You will need the URN for your school to complete this form. We are planning to begin deliveries to maintained nursery schools from week commencing 1 February.

Primary schools will receive enough testing kits to allow staff to self-test at home twice weekly for 3.5 weeks. We will replenish stocks every 3 weeks.

Testing kits come in individual boxes of 7 and each staff member should receive one of these boxes. There will be 54 boxes of 7 (378 tests in total) in each large carton. New instructions for use will arrive in a separate package.

We have published guidance for testing primary, school-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff to support you with this. Further information, guidance and resources to support rapid testing are available on the primary schools document sharing platform. Home testing of staff in primary schools (including school-based nurseries) can begin from week commencing Monday 25 January, once schools have received and distributed kits to staff.

Twice weekly testing for staff in secondary schools and colleges

Rapid testing remains a vital part of our plan to suppress this virus. The use of rapid lateral flow tests is already proving beneficial in finding people with coronavirus (COVID-19) before they develop symptoms. We are therefore encouraging schools and colleges to increase regular testing of staff to twice weekly as further reassurance and to break chains of transmission during this period. Our guidance for secondary schools and colleges will be updated shortly to reflect this.

Secondary schools and colleges are only expected to test pupils and students twice upon their return to school or college. 

 

UPDATE 22.1.21

Department for Education

Update to the workforce planning tool for testing in schools

A revised workforce planning tool has been uploaded to the schools and colleges document sharing platform. Secondary schools and colleges are entitled to funding to support the establishment of test sites. They can use the updated planning tool to understand workforce requirements and to estimate the level of funding they will receive for this half term.

To ensure the most accurate costs incurred are captured we will be using the number of tests results recorded to calculate actual allocations. This will be measured by the number of test results you record on your individual school or college account on the NHS Test & Trace log results website.

Update to guidance on financial support for education, early years and children’s social care

We have updated the Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children’s social care guidance to include details on public and private income from school-based nursery provision for mainstream state-funded schools. The guidance also includes information on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to 30 April 2021.

Changes to school admission appeals due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

On 24 April 2020, we made changes to the way admission authorities (school governing bodies, local authorities and academy trusts, depending on the type of school) carried out admission appeals.

The new regulations temporarily amended the 2012 appeals regulations and gave admission authorities, local authorities and admission appeal panels more flexibility when dealing with appeals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We have now laid new regulations which extend the provisions detailed in the guidance until the 30 September 2021.

The new regulations come into force on 31 January 2021, subject to parliamentary procedure. We will update the guidance in due course.

Guidance for staff testing in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools

Primary schools (including school-based nurseries) should expect to receive a delivery of home testing kits either this week or in the first half of next week. If you have not received your delivery by Wednesday 27 January, please complete this contact form. You will need the URN for your school to complete this form. We are planning to begin deliveries to maintained nursery schools from week commencing 1 February.

Primary schools will receive enough testing kits to allow staff to self-test at home twice weekly for 3.5 weeks. We will replenish stocks every 3 weeks.

Testing kits come in individual boxes of 7 and each staff member should receive one of these boxes. There will be 54 boxes of 7 (378 tests in total) in each large carton. New instructions for use will arrive in a separate package.

We have now published guidance for testing primary, school-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff to support you with this. Further information, guidance and resources to support rapid testing are now available on the primary schools document sharing platform. Home testing of staff in primary schools (including school-based nurseries) can begin from week commencing Monday 25 January once schools have received and distributed kits to staff.

Twice weekly testing for staff in secondary schools and colleges

Rapid testing remains a vital part of our plan to supress this virus. The use of rapid lateral flow tests is already proving beneficial in finding people with coronavirus (COVID-19) before they develop symptoms. We will therefore also be encouraging schools and colleges to increase regular testing of staff to twice weekly as further reassurance and to break chains of transmission during this period. Our guidance for secondary schools and colleges will be updated shortly.

Secondary schools are only expected to test students twice upon their return to school.

 

UPDATE 21.1.21

Department for Education

Supporting schools with the impacts of flooding

We are aware that Storm Christoph is having a significant impact across some areas of the UK. As part of our national monitoring, we are gathering information on schools that have closed or may have to close, specifically as a result of flooding impacts. This allows us to identify which schools may need our support and also to co-ordinate a national picture.

Schools should indicate in their attendance return if they have had to close as a result of flooding. We will be using the data to assess if there are any property or facilities damages and to understand if there are any potential impacts on provision for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers across the regions.

Attendance of vulnerable children and children of critical workers

Limiting attendance at schools and colleges helps to support the reduction in the overall number of social contacts in our communities, which is a vital intervention in the context of current very high transmission rates. Schools should continue to encourage attendance of those vulnerable children and children of critical workers who need to be in school. We know this means that attendance levels vary from school to school, but aggregate school attendance is much lower than full attendance, at around only 5% in secondary schools and 20% in primary schools at present, and so we will see the desired reduction in social contacts.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has recently made clear that the overwhelming majority of children and young people still have no symptoms, or very mild illness only. There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults. The Schools Infection Survey (covering 3 to 19 November) found the infection rate among teachers to be similar to that of the wider population. The way to control this virus is the same, whatever the variant.

Current evidence suggests that the Public Health England (PHE)-endorsed ‘system of controls’ that have been in use throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (which includes minimising contact with individuals who are unwell, use of face coverings in corridors and communal areas, cleaning hands and good respiratory hygiene, enhanced cleaning, minimising contact, use of PPE and ventilation in situations set out in guidance) are still the right measures to take. These measures create an inherently safer environment for children, young people and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. DfE keeps these controls under review, working with PHE, based on the latest evidence. Schools therefore need to continue to implement these controls to the fullest extent possible (as they did before national lockdown when schools were full), whilst providing on-site provision for all of their vulnerable children and children of critical workers who need to be in school.

Guidance for staff testing in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools

Primary schools (including school-based nurseries) should expect to receive a delivery of home testing kits either this week or in the first half of next week. If you have not received your delivery by Wednesday 27 January, please contact the DfE coronavirus (COVID-19) helpdesk on 0800 046 8687. Please also call the helpline, not the delivery companies, if you have any other enquiries about your delivery. We are planning to begin deliveries to maintained nursery schools from week commencing 1 February.

We have now published guidance for testing primary, school-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff to support you with this. Further information, guidance and resources to support rapid testing are now available on the primary schools document sharing platform. Home testing of staff in primary schools (including school-based nurseries) can begin from week commencing Monday 25 January once schools have received and distributed kits to staff.

Update on the testing programme and daily contact testing

Recent media coverage has suggested that the programme of mass testing of staff and pupils in secondary schools and colleges has paused, this is incorrect.

The main schools and colleges testing programme, using rapid lateral flow tests to find asymptomatic staff and pupils and those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) but do not have symptoms, is continuing. However, following new advice from NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England (PHE), we are temporarily pausing the daily contact testing element of the testing programme, which was in place as an alternative to self-isolation for those who came into contact with positive cases in schools. This will enable further evaluation to take place. Schools or colleges who have found daily contact testing helpful and would like to take part in the evaluation should contact the NHS Test and Trace evaluation team:

dct-pilotpmo@dhsc.gov.uk

 

 

UPDATE 20.1.21

Department for Education

Update on the testing programme and daily contact testing

Recent media coverage has suggested that the programme of mass testing of staff and pupils in secondary schools and colleges has paused, this is incorrect.

The main schools and colleges testing programme, using rapid lateral flow tests to find asymptomatic staff and pupils and those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) but do not have symptoms, is playing an important role in breaking chains of transmission and is continuing.

Following new advice from NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England (PHE), we are temporarily pausing the daily contact testing element of the testing programme, which was in place as an alternative to self-isolation for those who came into contact with positive cases in schools.

Daily contact testing was initially introduced into secondary schools and colleges with the agreement of Public Health England, based on the best scientific understanding available at the time. NHS Test and Trace and PHE have reviewed their initial advice in light of the higher prevalence and rates of transmission of the new variant, and concluded that these changes in the virus warrant further evaluation work. This evaluation will consider the impact of using daily contact testing instead of self-isolation to make sure it is achieving its aim of breaking chains of transmission and reducing cases of the virus in the community.

Daily contact testing was initially introduced into secondary schools and colleges with the agreement of Public Health England, based on the best scientific understanding available at the time. NHS Test and Trace and PHE have reviewed their initial advice and now concluded that, in light of the higher prevalence and rates of transmission of the new variant, further evaluation work is required. This evaluation will consider the impact of using daily contact testing instead of self-isolation to make sure it is achieving its aim of breaking chains of transmission and reducing cases of the virus in the community.

NHS Test and Trace and PHE will conduct this structured evaluation of daily contact testing as part of a wider evaluation of daily contact testing in a range of private and public settings, such as John Lewis and NHS Trust staff. DfE will support this evaluation so that its findings can contribute to further public health advice on daily contact testing in education settings. Schools or colleges who have found daily contact testing helpful and would like to take part in the evaluation should contact the NHS Test and Trace evaluation team:dct-pilotpmo@dhsc.gov.uk.

Twice weekly testing for staff in secondary schools and colleges

Rapid testing remains a vital part of our plan to supress this virus. The use of rapid lateral flow tests is already proving beneficial in finding people with coronavirus (COVID-19) before they develop symptoms. We will therefore also be encouraging schools and colleges to increase regular testing of staff to twice weekly as further reassurance and to break chains of transmission during this period. Our guidance for secondary schools and colleges will be updated shortly.

Guidance for staff testing in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools

On 13 January we confirmed that primary schools (including school-based nurseries) and maintained nursery schools, should expect to receive a delivery of home testing kits beginning this week. Deliveries will be staggered to primary schools throughout this week. If you have not received your delivery by Wednesday 27 January, please contact the DfE coronavirus (COVID-19) helpdesk on 0800 046 8687.

We have now published guidance for testing primary, school-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff to support you with this. Further information, guidance and resources to support rapid testing will be available shortly on the primary schools document sharing platform.

Updated delivery schedule for testing products

Some schools on our delivery schedule that were due to receive their test kits on Tuesday 19 January will now receive that delivery a week later on Tuesday 26 January due to constraints on stock of the test kits. You can find updated delivery schedules and allocations for primary schools and nurseries and secondary schools and colleges on the document sharing platforms.

If an all-through school is on this primary master list, they will be receiving a delivery of self-test kits. As these schools also have secondary age pupils, they will require the test kits and equipment in addition to the initial delivery. This may result in a small number of schools receiving both sets of testing kit and equipment.

Schools will be able access recordings of the webinars, which will be uploaded onto the Department for Education YouTube page shortly, or refer to the ‘how to’ guide to identify the correct set of instructions to use when issuing the test kits.

Asymptomatic testing of adults who are attending colleges onsite

In some cases, adult students will be attending colleges. These adults can be tested if they are attending college onsite.

The asymptomatic testing programme does not replace the government’s current testing policy for those with symptoms. If you have symptoms, you should continue to book a test via the NHS website or by calling 119 in England and Wales, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Get internet access for disadvantaged children

The Department for Education is working in partnership with mobile network operators to help schools support disadvantaged pupils in years 3 to 11 who do not have a fixed broadband connection and rely on a mobile internet connection to access remote education.

Schools, trusts and local authorities are encouraged to request free mobile data increases for families if they’re experiencing disruption to face to face education.

Guidance for schools on increasing data allowances on mobile devices to support disadvantaged children explains how and when to make a request.

The department is also giving colleges, schools, trusts and local authorities 4G wireless routers to lend to disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11, and those in 16 to 19 education. This is in addition to routers already dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts in the summer 2020 term.

Local authorities and trusts that received 4G wireless routers in the summer should log in to the Support Portal to identify unused routers and reallocate these to children and young people with the greatest need.

Further guidance on getting internet access is also available

 

 

UPDATE 19.1.21

Department for Education

Guidance for primary, schools-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff testing

On 13 January we confirmed that primary schools, including school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools, should expect to receive a delivery of home testing kits beginning this week. We have now published guidance for testing primary, school-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff to support you with this.

Further information, guidance and resources to support rapid testing will be available shortly on the primary schools document sharing platform.

Extension of military support for secondary schools and colleges

Secondary schools and colleges can continue to access military support to help set up testing sites. This support has been extended until the end of January.

The military can provide virtual training and advice on establishing the testing process, with teams on standby to provide in-person support to set up the testing site if required. If secondary schools and colleges have not yet signed up for the testing programme or started testing, please do consider accessing this support before the end of January.

A smaller amount of military support will be available from 30 January, until February half-term, but only in exceptional circumstances as schools and colleges should already have their testing capability set up and testing should have started.

To request support, please contact the DfE coronavirus (COVID-19) helpdesk on 0800 046 8687.

The following are examples where the military have provided support to help set up testing sites.


The Priory Learning Trust

The military assisted the Priory Learning Trust by providing tailored advice and support to assist with setting up testing sites at three different schools. The trust was very grateful to the military for being accommodating, visiting their various sites and undertaking a roleplay to walk through the flow of the set up.

“The reassurance that we are moving in the right direction and have covered what we need was really appreciated.” (Priory Learning Trust)


Ivybridge Community College

Ivybridge Community College has around 2500 students and 300 staff. Military support was requested to help run a test pilot day to ensure the process and organisation for testing was fit for purpose for the size of the college. The day was used as an opportunity for both parties to discuss ideas and to refine its operation.

Staff Sergeant Campbell said, “The College has set the standard for the area. The staff have been trained to an excellent standard by the College team and they have all the procedures in place. They should be very proud of what they have achieved, and we wish them all the best”.


The press release from the college is available to view.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) school snapshot research panel

If you are a school leader or classroom teacher, we may have invited you to join our new coronavirus (COVID-19) school snapshot research panel. The panel will help us understand how we can enhance support for schools and pupils during the pandemic, in a rapidly changing situation.

Postal invitation letters addressed to named staff members may start arriving in schools from today, these letters are jointly-branded from IFF Research and DfE. If invited, we strongly encourage leaders and teachers to take part, the invitation letter provides further information.


 

 

UPDATE 18.1.21

Department for Education

Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021

On Friday, we launched a joint consultation with Ofqual on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021. The consultation closes at 11:45pm on Friday 29 January. We want to hear the views of students who were due to take their exams, their parents and carers, their teachers, school and college leaders and others who have an interest, including further and higher education providers, and employers.

The Department for Education is putting our trust in teachers and their judgement to determine grades. Grades will be based on teacher assessment, with teachers supported in making decisions with guidance and training from exam boards to ensure these are awarded fairly and consistently.

The consultation will consider the range of evidence teachers use to award a grade, which could include coursework, other forms of assessment and papers provided by exam boards, to support consistency and fairness across schools and colleges.

Ofqual guidance collections

Ofqual has grouped together collections for their publications for GCSE, AS and A level qualifications in the academic year 2020 to 2021 and vocational, technical and other general qualifications in the academic year 2020 to 2021. The purpose of this is to make it easier to locate guidance on the same topic.

COVID workforce fund: request for volunteers

The Department for Education has launched a new COVID-19 workforce fund to support schools and eligible FE and sixth-form colleges with the additional cost burdens due to staff absence as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). The fund covers additional costs from 1 November to the end of the autumn term.

To be eligible:

·        schools must have recorded a total teacher and leader absence rate at or above 20% on a given day OR a total teacher and leader absence rate of 10% or above for 15 or more consecutive school days. Schools must also have reserves of no more than 4% of their annual income left at the end of the year

·        sixth-form and general FE colleges must have recorded a total teacher absence rate at or above 20% on a given day OR a total teacher absence rate of 10% or above for 15 or more consecutive school days. Sixth form and general FE colleges must also have data submitted for the November financial return which demonstrates an end of month cash position of 45 days or less at any point between November 2020 to March 2021

·        special schools and special post-16 institutions follow more flexible criteria which allow claims to be made for the absence of support staff in addition to teaching staff

To apply, eligible education settings will need to fill out an online claim form, which should be launched in Spring 2021. To develop the online claim form, we will be conducting user research in January. We are looking to recruit volunteers from across eligible schools and colleges to take part in this user research. Volunteers will be walked through a prototype of the claim journey by the user researcher. This will only take one hour, and feedback will be instrumental in shaping the form to ensure it meets the needs of our users.

To express your interest, please contact:

volunteers.workforcefund@education.gov.uk

DfE daily coronavirus (COVID-19) email to the education sector

Due to an increase in requests to be added to the distribution list for the Department for Education daily coronavirus (COVID-19) email to the education sector, we have now set up a registration process. If you have colleagues who wish to receive the daily email directly, please ask them to use this subscription form

 

 

UPDATE 18.1.21

Department for Education

National free school meal voucher scheme

The national free school meal voucher scheme will go live from today (week commencing 18 January).

You will be able to place orders for supermarket gift cards on behalf of the parents and carers whose children are eligible for benefits-related free school meals, to cover the period between 18 January and 12 February (4 weeks).

These gift cards are worth £15 a week per eligible child. You can order eCodes to be delivered direct to parents’ or carers’ email addresses. Families will receive an eCode by email to redeem for a supermarket of their choice. Alternatively, you can arrange for the eCode to be delivered to the school email, so you can provide eGift cards by post, collection or delivery to families without internet access.

Ordering from the scheme

You should have received an email on Wednesday 13 or Thursday 14 January with details of how to activate your account or reset your password for the site by midday Sunday 17 January.

If you have not received this email, please complete Edenred’s online change request form.

If you have not yet registered, please do so as soon as possible.

If the links in the email are not working for you, try copying the address directly into your browser.

Once you have registered:

·        you will be notified whether to begin ordering on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (18-20 January). These initial order dates are being allocated in three batches to help manage demand on the site. Please note, if you are registering on the site after midday Sunday 17 January, your order date may be later than Wednesday but within five days of registration

·        please avoid attempting to log in before the ordering date you are given – you will not be able to access the website before then

·        you will need to prepare your order file before you can order (see page 5 of the admin guide for further details). If you’re emailing vouchers to families, you should also check that their email addresses are up to date

·        you can choose to order for a whole school (for eligible children), order eCodes which cover more than one week and order eCodes which cover more than one child in the same household. See page 6 of the admin guide for full details and top tips

·        please endeavour to place one order covering multiple families, not multiple orders for each family. This will mean your order can be processed more quickly

Families will receive their 16-digit eCodes within 4 days of the order being placed. eCodes need to be redeemed into eGift cards before they are used (see our step-by-step guide for further details). Families will be able to choose from a range of supermarkets.

In the first week of the scheme the ordering site is likely to be very busy so you may be placed in a queue. The ordering website will be open between 6am and 10pm Monday to Friday. The busiest time is expected to be between 8.30am and 10.30am and at lunchtime, so you may wish to choose a different time to place your order.

Other free school meals provision

As well as using the national voucher scheme, your school still has the option of providing food to your eligible pupils via a lunch parcel, through a caterer or food provider, or via a locally arranged solution. This could include providing vouchers for a local shop or supermarket, or sourcing vouchers through an alternative provider.

For those arranging vouchers locally rather than through the national voucher scheme, more details will be available soon on how you can claim back these costs. Beyond the fact that it will need to be a valid claim based on eligible children and support provided over the specified timeframe, claims will not be subject to any additional criteria and so will be paid in full. The rates are £15 for vouchers or a £3.50 top up if you are providing lunch parcels. These amounts are per week, per eligible child.

Please note that you can use a mixture of vouchers and lunch parcels if different options suit different families better.

You can also read our full guidance on providing free school meals during the national lockdown.

 

 

UPDATE 15.1.21

Department for Education

Regulator approval for testing in schools

A number of you may have been concerned to see the Guardian article earlier today about regulator approval for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in schools. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson has said:

“The MHRA has been clear that we do not need MHRA regulatory approval to carry out daily testing, as long as people are assisted when processing the tests.

Daily testing taking place in secondary schools is assisted testing, and therefore does not require MHRA approval.

Lateral flow devices are a vital tool to finding more asymptomatic cases and the government’s approach to testing in schools will reduce transmission.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) staff testing in primary schools

On 13 January we confirmed that primary schools, including school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools, should expect to receive a delivery of home testing kits from 18 January for testing of staff. If you have not received a delivery by close on Monday 25 January, or have missing or damaged items, please contact the DfE coronavirus (COVID-19) helpdesk on 0800 046 8687. You do not need to start any testing before the week commencing 25 January.

Primary schools including school-based nurseries will receive sufficient test kits to test their primary and early years staff. Maintained nursery schools will also receive testing kits to offer to their staff. Private early years providers will be eligible for regular asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing through local community testing programmes.

Together with NHS Test and Trace, we will be hosting a series of webinars for primary schools that will provide information on testing and discuss any issues that may arise, we will also publish guidance. Each webinar will last for 60 minutes and there will be an opportunity to ask questions. Each webinar has a maximum capacity of 10,000 attendees.

The webinars will be repeated, and recordings made available online. You will only need to attend one on each topic. They will be available on the following dates (click on the link to join):

Introduction to testing in primary schools.

Reporting and recording of results.

We strongly encourage primary schools to attend these webinars. If you have any difficulties logging in, then it is very likely that we have reached the maximum capacity. If you are unable to attend the live webinar, recordings of these events will be uploaded onto the Department for Education YouTube page. We will provide links to these in a future email, once they are available.

Updated information for specialist settings on the administration of tests

Additional information and guidance for supporting the administration of tests for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has been added to the ‘How To’ guide and can be found on slides 42 and 43. The ‘How To’ guide is available to download from the schools and colleges document sharing platform.

Updated information on free school meals

During the period of national lockdown, schools will continue to receive their expected funding for benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals. Schools should continue to provide meal options for all pupils who are in school.

Schools should also continue to provide free school meal support to pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals and who are learning at home.

Schools will be able to claim additional funding from the Department for Education (DfE) where lunch parcels or vouchers for local shops or supermarkets are being provided. A national voucher scheme will also be in place from next week where the cost of these vouchers will be met centrally by DfE. For further details, please see the guidance for providing school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Schools should provide lunch parcels or local alternatives, such as locally arranged vouchers, ahead of the national voucher scheme re-opening. Schools have been contacted by Edenred with details of how to reset their password or activate their account. Schools must take this action in order to be able to order vouchers through the national scheme next week.

Any school who hasn’t receive an email from Edenred should complete the free school meals administrator change request. It can take up to 5 working days to authenticate these requests.

Updated early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework disapplications guidance

We have updated the early years foundation stage: coronavirus (COVID-19) disapplications guidance to reflect that it will not be mandatory to complete the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) assessment in 2021. This is in recognition of the additional pressures and uncertainties that teachers are facing during this challenging time. We have already confirmed that KS1 and KS2 assessments will not take place this year.

We will be asking schools to use their best endeavours to complete the EYFSP for children in the summer term depending on their individual circumstances.

There will be no requirement to submit data to the local authority or to confirm whether they have completed the EYFSP to the Department for Education.

This change also applies to schools who are early adopters of the Early Years Foundation Stage reforms, as well as schools who are following the current statutory framework.

We have also updated this guidance on what settings can do if Paediatric First Aid (PFA) certificate requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, or by complying with related government advice. If PFA certificate requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with coronavirus (COVID-19), or by complying with related government advice, the validity of current certificates can be extended to 31 March 2021 at the latest. This applies to certificates expiring on or after 1 October 2020.

Employers or certificate holders must do their best to arrange requalification training at the earliest opportunity.

Ordering additional laptops and tablets

We announced this week that we are purchasing 300,000 more laptops and tablets. This brings the total number available through the Get help with technology programme to over 1.3 million.

We will email all schools with information on the number of additional devices allocated to them and when they will be able to order. Devices will be available from early February.

You can find out if you have any remaining laptops and tablets available to order in your current allocation by signing in to the get help with technology service.

Get funding and support to set up a digital education platform

Find out how to apply for government-funded support to access one of two free to use digital education platforms: G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. Having access to these platforms will allow for continued education, interaction and assessment with your staff and pupils. Find out more about the digital platforms programme in our guidance.

 

UPDATE 14.1.21

Department for Education

Guidance for special schools, special post-16 providers and alternative provision

We have published additional guidance for special schools, specialist post-16 providers, and alternative provision (including hospital schools) during the national lockdown period. It should be read alongside the main guidance documents: Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools and Guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings, which cover the main operational issues.

The guidance provides information on safety and workforce, recording attendance, Education, Health and Care plans, and funding. We know that children and young people in alternative provision and special settings, and their families, can be disproportionately impacted by being out of their normal setting. For some of these children and young people, remote education cannot meet their needs as effectively as face-to-face provision. We have published this guidance to include information on providing on-site provision for these pupils and students wherever possible and appropriate.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) staff testing in primary schools

On 13 January we confirmed that primary schools, including school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools, should expect to receive a delivery of home testing kits from 18 January for testing of staff. If you have not received a delivery by close on Monday 25 January, or have missing or damaged items, please complete this contact form. You will need the URN for your school or college to complete this form. You do not need to start any testing before the week commencing 25 January.

Primary schools including school-based nurseries will receive sufficient test kits to test their primary and early years staff. Maintained nursery schools will also receive testing kits to offer to their staff. Private early years providers will be eligible for regular asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing through local community testing programmes.

Together with NHS Test and Trace, we will be hosting a series of webinars for primary schools that will provide information on testing and discuss any issues that may arise, we will also publish guidance. Each webinar will last for 60 minutes and there will be an opportunity to ask questions. Each webinar has a maximum capacity of 10,000 attendees.

The webinars will be repeated, and recordings made available online. You will only need to attend one on each topic. They will be available on the following dates (click on the link to join):

Introduction to testing in primary schools.

·        Monday, 18 January, 10am to 11am

·        Monday, 18 January, 2pm to 3pm

Reporting and recording of results.

·        Tuesday, 19 January, 10am to 11am

·        Tuesday, 19 January, 2pm to 3pm

We strongly encourage primary schools to attend these webinars. If you have any difficulties logging in, then it is very likely that we have reached the maximum capacity. If you are unable to attend the live webinar, recordings of these events will be uploaded onto the Department for Education YouTube page. We will provide links to these in a future email, once they are available.

Guidance for schools on wraparound childcare during the national lockdown

We have updated the guidance on actions for schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to make clear that wraparound provision, such as before and after-school clubs, should continue to run during the national lockdown for those children eligible to attend school (vulnerable children and the children of critical workers).

Continuing this provision is essential to ensure that parents and carers who are critical workers can continue to work. As well as encouraging schools to continue running their own wraparound provision for pupils, we are encouraging them to continue to work closely with any external wraparound providers their pupils may use. We have highlighted that schools may continue to open up their premises for use by external providers that support children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

Additionally, where there are likely to be fewer numbers of children in settings, it would be appropriate for one member of staff to supervise up to two small consistent groups of children if this is necessary.

Operation Encompass teachers’ helpline

Operation Encompass teachers’ helpline, funded by the Home Office, is available for all staff in education settings and allows staff to speak in confidence with an educational psychologist about how best to support children experiencing domestic abuse.

Phone: 0204 513 9990

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday, term-time, 8am to 1pm

Further information and resources can be found on the Operation Encompass website and in a handbook for schools, which provides information about the impact of domestic abuse on children and advice on how to support them

 

 

UPDATE 13.1.21

Department for Education

This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Free school meal provision

During the period of national lockdown, schools will continue to receive their expected funding for benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals. Schools should continue to provide meal options for all pupils who are in school.

Schools should also continue to provide free school meal support to pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals and who are not attending school. Schools will be able to claim additional funding where lunch parcels or vouchers for local shops or supermarkets are being provided.

Lunch parcels should include ingredients for five lunches for children eligible for free school meals while they are learning at home. The Department for Education (DfE) has worked with the Lead Association for Catering in Education and Public Health England to provide helpful guidance on putting together food parcels. Schools may be aware of instances where lunch parcels have not met the guidelines. The Secretary of State for Education has today said that lunch parcels that do not meet these standards are unacceptable. DfE is committed to ensuring that eligible pupils receive a high standard of free school meals whilst they are at home during term time and have published guidance to support schools in meeting these standards. DfE is happy to support any school in discussions with contractors to ensure that all eligible children can receive a high-quality free school meal.

A national voucher scheme will be in place from next week, and the cost of these vouchers will be met centrally by DfE. Schools should provide lunch parcels or local alternatives, such as locally arranged vouchers, ahead of the national voucher scheme re-opening. Edenred will be operating the national voucher scheme and schools will begin to receive direct communication from them over the coming days. This will include important information on accessing the ordering site, so that orders can be placed from next week.

For further details, please see our guidance for providing school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Updated public health guidance to support exams from January 2021

We have updated our public health guidance to support exams from January 2021, setting out that schools and colleges can continue with the vocational and technical exams that are taking place this month, where they judge it right to do so.

This update also provides further guidance on the set up of the exam room, face coverings, maintaining distance between staff and candidates and the guidance to follow when a candidate has a negative test.

Letter from the Secretary of State for Education to Ofqual’s Chief Regulator

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the national lockdown on 4 January 2021, the government announced exams this year would not go ahead as planned.

Today, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, sent a letter to Simon Lebus, Ofqual’s Chief Regulator. This letter outlines the process to agree alternative arrangements for exams in 2021 and confirms that this year the government will be trusting teachers to assess students’ grades and will not be making use of an algorithm.

A response to this letter has also been published. It confirms Ofqual’s agreement to work with the Department for Education and others across the sector to put in place the fairest possible alternative arrangements.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) staff testing in primary schools

On 15 December, the Secretary of State for Education announced plans to introduce asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges, starting with secondary and further education colleges and rolling-out to primary schools in January.

We can confirm that primary schools and maintained nursery schools should expect to receive a delivery of home testing kits between the 18 and 22 January for testing of staff. Further support and guidance on how to use the tests will follow shortly. If you have not received a delivery by close on 22 January, or have missing or damaged items, please complete this contact form. You will need the URN for your school or college to complete this form. You do not need to start any testing before the week commencing 25 January.

Primary schools with attached early years settings will receive sufficient test kits to test both their primary and early years staff. Maintained nursery schools will also receive testing kits to offer to their staff. Private early years providers will continue to be prioritised for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing through the NHS testing programme.

Rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in secondary schools and colleges

Secondary schools have now received lateral flow device test kits and many schools have now started testing. Rapid testing helps identify those asymptomatic cases that might otherwise not be detected, causing the virus to spread further.

Secondary schools should now offer:

  • initial testing of vulnerable children and children of critical workers who are on school and college sites (two tests, three to five days apart)
  • weekly testing of staff who are on school and college sites
  • daily testing of close contacts of positive cases in school and college as an alternative to self-isolation

Staff, pupils and students in secondary schools and colleges who are on site can take daily lateral flow device tests for seven days. As long as their results are negative, they will be able to continue to access school and college as usual.

The military can offer support on setting up the provision and give advice both virtually and on the ground. To request support, please contact the Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on 0800 046 8687.

Rapid testing incident reporting

As part of the testing quality compliance, it is essential that every incident that interrupts, or has the potential to interrupt, testing is reported.

If issues on site are local, such as damaged packaging, missing components or you can’t open your test site, then they should be reported using the asymptomatic testing for coronavirus in schools and colleges incident reporting form.

Incidents which require escalation, such as a device which is damaged or breaks during use, any concerns about the performance of a specific testing kit, if injury occurs, or any other serious incident takes place, these should be reported to the Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline immediately by calling 0800 046 8687. Anonymised details of these incidents will be passed to the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency as part of their clinical compliance.

Delivery of lateral flow test kits to secondary schools and colleges

Today we will be publishing an updated delivery schedule, which includes details of all the deliveries that have been made. If you think you are missing a delivery, please check this spreadsheet to find out if there are any outstanding deliveries for your school or college.

We will shortly be providing details on how to order new and replacement lateral flow testing kits for when your supplies run out. Please do not use the contact us form, or the 119 helpline to request new lateral flow testing kits at this time.

The initial deliveries contained enough testing materials to test all pupils and students twice, and staff for two weeks on return to education, so every school and college should have sufficient kits.

If your school or college has small numbers of missing or damaged items, this should not stop you testing as between both deliveries you should have received enough stock to continue testing. If, however, you do not have enough testing kit to continue testing now, please contact the Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on 0800 046 8687.

Guidance in the schools and colleges How To Guide includes details on waste collection and how to order more bags if they are required.

Violence against women and girls – call for evidence launched by the Home Office

The Home Office have launched a call for evidence to inform the development of the government’s next Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. Views are sought from those with lived experience of harm as well as those with expertise in working with victims and survivors, those involved in preventative activity and those involved in providing services. This includes relevant professionals, such as those working in social care, education, law enforcement, local government, public health and healthcare.

Anyone aged 16 or over is welcome to contribute to the call for evidence and does not have to have experienced violence or abuse to take part.

Anyone wishing to participate is asked to complete the public survey or provide a written submission.

Further information on this consultation and how to get involved can be found in the Home Office violence against women and girls call for evidence.

This consultation will close at 11:45pm on 19 February.

 

 

UPDATE 12.1.21

Department for Education

Remote education framework for schools and further education providers

We have published a framework to help schools and further education providers in England identify strengths and areas for improvement in their remote education provision. This framework is not intended as a compliance or accountability tool and should be adapted to fit your individual context. The framework is for internal use and to support detailed discussions with staff and governors/trustees on appropriate next steps.

Further guidance on providing remote education can be accessed through our get help with remote education service. Ofsted has also published a short guide on what is working well in remote education, which draws on findings from their interim visits, research and literature review.

Ordering laptops and tablets

All schools in England have now been invited to order their full allocation of laptops and tablets. This may have happened in the autumn term or following the announcement about national lockdown and restricting attendance in schools.

If you have not ordered your full allocation and have not received our email inviting you to order, please check your spam or junk folder. Alternatively, you can sign in to the get help with technology service and follow the instructions to check your allocation and place your order.

We are also providing internet connections through free mobile data increases or 4G wireless routers for students who meet all 3 of these criteria. The student:

  • does not have fixed broadband at home
  • cannot afford additional data for their devices
  • is experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education

Today we have announced that we will provide a further 300,000 laptops and tablets to schools, colleges and further education providers. We will provide information on how these devices can be ordered soon.

Please note that only schools can place orders. Parents, carers and pupils cannot order devices or internet access through our service.

Updated guidance on Ofsted inspections

Ofsted has updated their rolling update to include information on monitoring visits. From 18 January, Ofsted will start making monitoring inspections to primary, secondary and special schools and colleges graded inadequate or requires improvement. These will not result in a grade.

Monitoring inspections will look at how well schools are educating pupils in the current circumstances, which for most pupils means being educated remotely. They will also consider complaints made by parents about remote education to help resolve issues and make sure children are being well served. If parents feel their child’s school is not providing suitable remote education, they should first raise their concerns with the teacher or headteacher. If issues are not resolved, parents can report the matter to Ofsted.

Rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in secondary schools and colleges

Secondary schools have now received lateral flow device test kits and many schools have now started testing. Rapid testing helps identify those asymptomatic cases that might otherwise not be detected, causing the virus to spread further.

Secondary schools should now offer:

  • initial testing of vulnerable children and children of critical workers who are on school and college sites (two tests, three to five days apart)
  • weekly testing of staff who are on school and college sites
  • daily testing of close contacts of positive cases in schools and college as an alternative to self-isolation, reducing disruption in schools and colleges.

Staff, pupils and students who are on site can take daily lateral flow device tests for seven days. As long as their results are negative, they will be able to continue to access school as usual.

The military can offer support on setting up the provision and give advice both virtually and on the ground. To request support, please contact the Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on 0800 046 8687.

Attendance recording in schools

While parents and carers who are critical workers should keep children at home if they can, children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents to identify children of critical workers who need to go to school; those that do not should be recorded as Code X.

  • where parents of critical workers only need their child to attend school part-time, schools should use Code X to record the sessions that the child is not expected to attend
  • where the child of a critical worker is expected to attend a session and does not do so, the school should record the absence as Code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) unless another authorised absence code is more applicable
  • as usual, Code X should be used if the child is self-isolating or quarantining because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

As vulnerable children are still expected to attend school full time, they should not be marked as Code X if they are not in school (except if they are shielding, self-isolating or quarantining). If the parent of a vulnerable child wishes their child to be absent, the parent should let the school know. The Department expects schools to grant applications for leave of absence given the exceptional circumstances. This should be recorded as code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) unless another authorised absence code is more applicable.

Where schools grant a leave of absence to vulnerable children they should still speak to parents and social workers (where applicable) to explore the reasons for this and any concerns raised. The discussions should focus on the welfare of the child and ensuring the child is able to access appropriate education and support while they are at home.

All pupils who are not eligible to be in school should be marked as Code X (not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus (COVID19)). They are not attending because they are following public health advice.

Guidance for special schools, special post-16 providers and alternative provision

We are working to update our guidance for special schools, special post-16 providers and alternative provision to provide additional information and support in delivering education during the national lockdown. We have consulted with the sector including special school head teachers and representatives from special post-16 providers. We will publish this guidance later this week and will provide a link to it from the sector email once it is available.

 

 

UPDATE 11.1.21

Department for Education

Free school meal provision in schools

During the period of national lockdown, schools should provide meal options for all pupils who are in school, including vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. Meals should be available free of charge to:

·        all infant pupils

·        pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria

During the national lockdown, we expect schools to continue supporting children eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are at home during term time. Schools will continue to receive funding to cover benefits-related free school meals and they can claim additional funding to help support eligible pupils at home.

We strongly encourage schools to work with their school catering team or food provider to provide food parcels to eligible free school meal pupils who are at home. Where school kitchens are open this should be the approach taken by schools. Schools can claim for additional funding of £3.50 per week for each eligible pupil receiving food parcel provision at home.

If the school has confirmed with the school catering team or food provider that they cannot provide food parcels for pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are at home, you can consider other local arrangements, which might include vouchers for local shops and supermarkets. Schools can claim to be reimbursed up to £15 per pupil eligible for benefits-related free school meals per week.

We will open a national scheme to provide supermarket vouchers via an online portal as soon as possible. Further details will be published shortly.

Further details on how and when additional costs can be reclaimed will also be provided shortly.

Information on options for provision of free school meals to pupils who are at home, and the funding available, can be found in our updated guidance on providing free school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Free meal provision for further education students

Further education institutions should continue to provide support for students who are eligible for free meals, whether they are attending or studying remotely due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Institutions should continue to provide support in the most appropriate way based on their local circumstances.

Further information is available in the 16 to 19 free meals in further education guidance.

Vulnerable children and children of critical workers who can attend school

Schools should remain open to vulnerable children and children of critical workers. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical workers can go to school if required. This includes parents who may be working from home. The guidance sets out that parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.

Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school. If it proves necessary, schools can ask for simple evidence that the parent in question is a critical worker, such as their work ID badge or pay slip.

We know that every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on-site provision is provided for these pupils, and there is no limit to numbers of these pupils who may attend and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. This is because we are reducing overall social contact across the country rather than individually by each institution.

Rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in secondary schools and colleges

Secondary schools have now received lateral flow device test kits and many schools have now started testing. Rapid testing helps identify those asymptomatic cases that might otherwise not be detected, causing the virus to spread further.

Secondary schools should now offer:

·        initial testing of vulnerable children and children of critical workers who are on school and college sites (two tests, three to five days apart)

·        weekly testing of staff who are on school and college sites

·        daily testing of close contacts of positive cases in schools and college as an alternative to self-isolation, reducing disruption in schools and colleges.

Staff, pupils and students who are on site can take daily lateral flow device tests for seven days. As long as their results are negative, they will be able to continue to access school as usual.

The military can offer support on setting up the provision and give advice both virtually and on the ground. To request support, please contact the Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on 0800 046 8687.

Registering test site team leaders and recording lateral flow test results

Thank you to all who have registered your team leaders for the digital system used for recording lateral flow test results.

If you are a secondary school or college and have not yet registered your test site team leaders, please complete the online registration form by Wednesday 13 January.

You can only register one team leader at a time using the registration form. To register multiple team leaders, please complete the form as many times as needed. The registration process takes around 5 minutes per team leader.

Once a team leader has been registered, they will receive an e-mail containing details on how to record lateral flow test results on your site using the log test site COVID-19 results service. Further information on how to register a test site team leader and registering lateral flow test results can be found in the NHS Test and Trace guidance on the digital services you will use.

If you have any questions, or require support registering your team leaders, please contact the Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on 0800 046 8687.

Missed deliveries of lateral flow test kits

All schools with secondary-age pupils, including independent schools, special schools, alternative provision, sixth-form and further education colleges, should now have received an initial delivery of lateral flow device test kits to support asymptomatic testing from the start of the spring term.

If you have not received your initial delivery or have missing or damaged items, please complete the contact us form. You will need the URN for your school or college to complete this form.

Rapid testing in secondary schools and colleges

Last week, we held a series of webinars for secondary schools and colleges that provided information on the rapid testing programme. Recordings of these webinars have now been uploaded onto the Department for Education YouTube page and can be accessed using the links below:

·        Webinar 1 – site set up, equipment, supplies, logistics and waste management

·        Webinar 2 – workforce and training, consent, and engagement

·        Webinar 3 – clinical compliance, incidents, outbreaks and recording results and digital journey

Further information, guidance and resources to support rapid testing can be found on the schools and colleges document sharing platform.

To help you find the information that you need, we have created a read first index. This document provides the details of guidance and materials available to schools and colleges to support them to deliver coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid testing in their settings and will be updated when new information is available

 

 

UPDATE 8.1.21

Department for Education

Guidance for early years and childcare settings during the national lockdown

We have published new guidance on how the national lockdown impacts early years and childcare settings in England.

It remains very important for children to attend early years settings to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and carers.

Early years provision should continue to remain open and continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours. This includes early years registered nurseries and childminders, maintained nursery schools, as well as nursery classes in schools and other pre-reception provision on school sites. Only vulnerable children and children of critical workers should attend on-site reception classes.

Childminders should continue to allow children to attend as normal, except for school-aged children. Childminders caring for school-aged children (including reception children) should only open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.

Nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home.

Guidance on restricting attendance at school during the national lockdown

Yesterday we published guidance for schools in England on restricting attendance at school during the national lockdown.

Primary, secondary, alternative provision and special schools will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only (recognising that the characteristics of the cohorts in special schools and alternative provision will mean these settings can continue to offer face-to-face provision for all pupils, where appropriate). All other pupils should not attend and should learn remotely until February half-term. Pupils who are self-isolating should not attend school. Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils are also advised not to attend school.

Guidance on attendance at further education colleges during the national lockdown

We have published new guidance for further education and skills providers in England with information on how students of all ages can benefit from their education and training during the national lockdown.

For most students, further education colleges have closed for face-to-face education until February half term. Further education colleges will remain open to vulnerable young people and the children of critical workers.

All other students will learn remotely until at least February half term.

Guidance for children’s social care services during the national lockdown

We have updated our guidance for children’s social care services to provide information for local authorities and their partners on how to support and protect vulnerable children during the national lockdown. This update includes information on:

  • support for foster families
  • access to respite care
  • short break services
  • restrictions on visitors and gatherings in residential settings
  • mental health of looked-after children and care leavers

Guidance on providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have updated our guidance on providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021 confirming a new national lockdown, training providers, employers and EPAOs should ensure that training and assessment takes place remotely wherever possible. However, face-to-face training and assessment can continue for some apprentices in colleges and training providers’ premises, in COVID-secure assessment centres, or in employers’ COVID-secure settings.

This guidance also provides details of the flexibility that we have put in place, that enables apprentices to take their end-point assessment (EPA) ahead of undertaking and receiving the results for their functional skills qualification.

Guidance for holiday or after-school clubs and other out of school settings

We have updated our guidance for providers of holiday or after-school clubs and other out of school settings to include information on who should attend out-of-school settings during the national lockdown, staff to child ratios and information on clinically extremely vulnerable staff.

We have also updated our guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings to include information on who should attend after-school clubs and out-of-school settings in line with new national lockdown restrictions.

Educational settings status form

From next week, schools and colleges will be asked to resume completing the daily educational setting status form.

We are currently making changes to the educational setting status form to reflect the position on attendance of pupils due to the national lockdown.

Further information can be found in our guidance on how to complete the educational setting status form.

Rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in secondary schools and colleges

Secondary schools have now received LFD test kits and many schools have now started testing. Rapid testing helps identify those asymptomatic cases that might otherwise not be detected, causing the virus to spread further.

Secondary schools should now offer:

  • initial testing of vulnerable children and children of critical workers who are on school and college sites (two tests, three to five days apart)
  • weekly testing of staff who are on school and college sites
  • daily testing of close contacts of positive cases in schools and college as an alternative to self-isolation, reducing disruption in schools and colleges. Staff, pupils and students who are on site can take daily LFD tests for seven days. As long as their results are negative, they will be able to continue to access school as usual.

The military can offer support on setting up the provision and give advice both virtually and on the ground. To request support, please contact the DfE coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline.

Register a team leader for your secondary school or college rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) test site

Team leaders are responsible for the overall on-site operations at the test site. Schools and colleges will need at least one team leader to run a test site. We recommend that each test site has 2 team leaders as this will ensure that cover is available if someone is ill.

Please complete the registration form to register a team leader. You can only register one team leader at a time using the registration form. To register multiple team leaders, please complete the form as many times as needed.

Team leaders will need to be registered before you can start testing. We will add team leaders to the list of people receiving this daily email.

Further information, guidance and resources to support rapid testing can be found on the schools and colleges document sharing platform.


 

 

UPDATE 7.1.21

Department for Education

Free school meal provision

During the national lockdown, schools should continue to provide meal options for all pupils who are in school.

Schools should also continue to provide free school meal support to pupils who are eligible for benefits related free school meals, including to those pupils who are not attending school. Extra funding will be provided to support schools to provide food parcels or meals to eligible children.

Guidance on providing good quality food parcels has been produced by the Lead Association for Catering in Education, Public Health England and the Department for Education.

Where schools cannot offer food parcels or local alternatives, we will ensure a national voucher scheme is in place so that every eligible child can access free school meals while their school remains closed. The free school meals guidance will be updated with further information shortly.

All primary schools in England will be able to order laptops and tablets by 15 January

We understand that schools urgently need devices to support remote education.

We will contact all primary schools in England by 15 January at the latest, starting with the most disadvantaged areas, to invite them to order devices.

All secondary schools have now been invited to order by email.

Please note that only schools can place orders. Parents, carers and pupils cannot order devices or internet access through our service.

Support with internet access is available now. Find out more about the different ways you can help children to get online.

Guidance on restricting attendance at school during the national lockdown

We have published new guidance for schools in England on restricting attendance at school during the national lockdown.

Primary, secondary, alternative provision and special schools will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only (recognising that the characteristics of the cohorts in special schools and alternative provision will mean these settings can continue to offer face-to-face provision for all pupils, where appropriate). All other pupils should not attend and should learn remotely until February half-term. Pupils who are self-isolating should not attend school. Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils are also advised not to attend school.

Supporting remote education in schools

All children and young people deserve the opportunity for a high-quality continued education and we have updated our guidance and expectations around the core standards we believe all schools should be meeting.

For those learning remotely, additional resource will be in place to enable students to access quality online education. 560,000 laptops have already been delivered to schools and we will be increasing that to one million, as soon as possible during the course of this term. We will be extending the scheme to 16-19 year-olds, in both further education colleges and school sixth forms. This is in addition to ensuring there are connectivity packages available to those who need it.

Support for the delivery of high-quality remote education is available through Oak National Academy, the Demonstrator Programme and, for SENCOs, the SEND Support Hub.

Updated guidance for students returning to, and starting, higher education in spring term 2021

We have updated our guidance for higher education providers on the return of students to higher education on the spring term. This update provides information on reducing the number of students returning to university from their winter break accommodation, guidance on when other students can return to campus and course delivery during the national lockdown.

We are now prioritising the return to face-to-face teaching for courses which are most important to be delivered in-person, in order to support the pipeline of future key workers.

All other courses should be delivered online until at least mid-February.

 

 

UPDATE 6.1.21

Department for Education

Secretary of State’s Statement to Parliament

The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has today made a statement to the House of Commons about the closure of schools in England during the national lockdown.

He stated that schools have not suddenly become unsafe but limiting the number of children and students who attend them is essential to curb the escalating cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the country and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.

The key measures to support the education of children and young people during the national lockdown include:

·        early years settings remain open to all

·        schools open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers

·        clear requirements for schools to provide high-quality remote education

·        stepping up the digital support to schools and parents

·        working with the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to key educational sites

·        continued provision of free school meals or food parcels for eligible pupils, whether or not they are attending school.

The Secretary of State confirmed that we will not be asking students to sit SATs, GCSEs and A and AS Level exams this summer. Together with Ofqual, we will consult next week on how to fairly award all pupils with a grade to ensure they can progress to the next stage of their lives.

The Secretary of State also confirmed that testing is going to be at the centre of our plans to return children back to school and college.

The Secretary of State thanked all social workers, teachers and other education staff for all they have been doing to keep children and young people safe and learning over the last difficult term.

Increasing data allowances on mobile devices to support disadvantaged children

Schools, academy trusts and local authorities can now request help to increase mobile data allowances for children and young people who:

·        do not have fixed broadband at home

·        cannot afford additional data for their devices

·        are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education.

Mobile data increases can also be requested when schools report a closure or have pupils self-isolating.

Schools can also make requests for children who cannot attend school face-to-face because they are clinically extremely vulnerable or restrictions pre-vent them from going to school.

If increasing mobile data isn’t a suitable option for some children, schools can also request 4G wireless routers

 

UPDATE 5.1.21

Department for Education

National lockdown now in force

Yesterday, the Prime Minister a