Guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings

What all special schools and other specialist settings will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.



This guidance will be updated shortly following the recent position statement on daily contact testing from Public Health England.

This guidance applies to:

  • special schools
  • special post-16 institutions (SPIs)
  • other specialist settings, such as hospital schools
Published 2 July 2020
Last updated 18 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. 'Guidance for special schools, specialist post-16 providers and alternative provision during the national lockdown' updated with information about attendance, recording and remote education expectations.

  2. Published additional guidance for special schools, specialist post-16 providers, and alternative provision (including hospital schools) during the national lockdown.

  3. Added 'Mass asymptomatic testing in specialist settings'.

  4. Updated section on pregnant employees.

  5. Added information about tier 4 restrictions.

  6. Updated the isolation period from 14 days to 10 days from the day after an individual tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

  7. Updated sections on assessment and accountability, and contingency planning for remote education.

  8. Guidance updated to address the lifting of the national restrictions from 2 December 2020. Amendments to key policy areas have been made to reflect the local restriction tiers.

  9. Updated guidance on SEND legislation (to reflect that temporary changes have now ceased), the system of controls, residential settings, attendance, workforce, safeguarding, wraparound provision and extra-curricular activity, curriculum expectations, behaviour expectations and contingency planning for remote education.

  10. Added links to the 'Education and childcare settings: New National Restrictions from 5 November 2020'.

  11. Replaced references to “local lockdowns” with references to the local COVID alert levels.

  12. Updated the section on managing confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  13. Amended the information on risk assessments for those with an education, health and care plan.

  14. Updated guidance to reflect the actions special schools and other specialist settings need to support full opening from the start of the autumn term. The main changes are listed at the start of the document.

  15. First published.