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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 to reflect the announcement by the Prime Minister that the government’s 5 tests have been met and the decision, based on all the evidence, to move forward with the wider opening of education and childcare settings.
It also includes details on how primary schools can use flexibility to welcome back additional pupils this term, where they have capacity.
Since 23 March, in line with the scientific advice, nurseries, schools and colleges have remained open only to a priority group of children and young people, children who have a parent who is a critical worker and vulnerable children.
Now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of coronavirus we are encouraging all eligible children to attend settings (where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household), even if parents are able to keep their children at home.
From the week commencing 1 June, we are also asking primary schools to welcome back all children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. From 15 June, we are asking secondary schools, sixth-form colleges and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support for year 10 and year 12, and 16-19 learners in the first year of their course who are due to take key exams next year, alongside priority groups. We are also asking nurseries and other early years providers, including childminders, to begin welcoming back children of all ages from 1 June. Alternative provision settings should mirror the approach being taken for mainstream schools and, from 15 June, offer some face-to-face support for years 10 and 11 students (as they have no year 12). We are asking special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools to follow an equivalent phased return without a focus on specific year groups.
Children of critical workers, and vulnerable children who are already eligible, will continue to be offered a place, regardless of the year group they are in.
The definition of critical workers remains unchanged.
Any setting that cannot achieve these increases at any point because:
- there are not enough classrooms or spaces available in the setting
- they do not have enough available teachers or staff to supervise the groups
have flexibility but must first focus on continuing to provide places for priority groups (vulnerable children and the children of critical workers).
We know that in some primary schools, there will be capacity to welcome more children back, in group sizes of no more than 15, before the summer holidays. This may be because take-up amongst eligible children is lower than expected, or because there is additional space still available within the school and available staff to teach and supervise. There is no expectation on primary schools to welcome back additional children where they do not have capacity to do so, and they should only do so where they can accommodate more children while still following the approaches set out in the relevant guidance and their own risk assessment. Primary schools should only welcome back additional pupils where they have already made provision available for children of critical workers, vulnerable children and those in other eligible year groups.
Vulnerable children and young people
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, for the purposes of continued attendance at educational settings, vulnerable children and young people are defined as those who:
- are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children 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 and it is determined, following risk assessment, that their needs can be as safely or more safely met in the educational environment
- have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision - this might include children 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 who are young carers and 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 below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to look after their child at home, but attendance is strongly encouraged.
Please, therefore, also follow these key principles:
If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
Parents must do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially outside of school. They must observe the same social distancing principles as adults, as far as possible.
Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
If your work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, then your children will be prioritised for education provision and are strongly encouraged to attend.
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
If your school is closed, then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.
We are grateful for the work of teachers and workers in educational settings for continuing to provide for the children of the other critical workers of our country. It is an essential part of our national effort to combat this disease.