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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
This guidance has been updated as all pupils return full-time to schools and educational settings from the start of the autumn term, and to reflect that there may be exceptional circumstances in which some level of restriction to education or childcare is required in a local area, as set out in the Department for Health and Social Care’s COVID-19 contain framework.
Return of all pupils to education
Schools and colleges are welcoming back all children and young people from the start of the autumn term.
It is vital that children and young people return to school and college for their:
- educational progress
- wider development
School attendance is mandatory again. For parents and carers of children of compulsory school age, this means that the legal duty on you as a parent to send your child to school regularly will apply.
In local areas where restrictions have been implemented by national direction, we anticipate that education and childcare will usually remain fully open to all, with the additional requirement that face coverings should be worn by staff and pupils in schools and colleges, from year 7 and above, when moving around communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.
There may be exceptional circumstances in which some level of restriction to education or childcare is required in a local area. In those situations, local and national partners will carefully consider which tier of restriction, as set out in the Department of Health and Social Care’s COVID-19 contain framework, is the most appropriate one to implement. The key aim will be to retain as much face-to-face education and access to childcare as possible. The ‘tiers of restriction’ will ensure that extensive limitations on education and childcare are a last resort and that full-time on-site provision is available for vulnerable children and children of critical workers in all cases.
To support contingency planning should education settings need to limit attendance in line with the tiers of intervention, the definition of critical workers and vulnerable children is in the following section.
Vulnerable children and young people
Vulnerable children and young people include those who:
- are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
- have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
- have been identified as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who could therefore benefit from continued full-time attendance, this might include:
- children and young people on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services
- adopted children, those at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’)
- those living in temporary accommodation, those who are young carers
- those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
- others at the provider and local authority’s discretion
Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined in the following sections.
Health and social care
This includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
- support and teaching staff
- social workers
- specialist education professionals who must remain active during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response to deliver this approach
Key public services
- those essential to the running of the justice system
- religious staff
- charities and workers delivering key frontline services
- those responsible for the management of the deceased
- journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting
Local and national government
This only includes:
- those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the coronavirus (COVID-19) response
- or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food:
- sale and delivery
- as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)
Public safety and national security
- police and support staff
- Ministry of Defence civilians
- contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak)
- fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
- National Crime Agency staff
- those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
- staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
- the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
- information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response
- key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services)
- postal services and delivery
- payments providers
- waste disposal sectors