Guidance

Education and childcare settings: national restrictions from 5 November 2020

How national restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) impact education, childcare and children’s social care settings.

On Saturday 31 October the Prime Minister announced national restrictions, which came into force on Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The government continues to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of our children and young people and will not be closing early years settings, schools, further education (FE) providers or universities.

It remains very important for children and young people to attend, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians. Senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be, and so they should continue to go to school. Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to make them safe.

Childcare or education is one of the exceptions that children, young people and parents and carers can leave their home for.

Education settings and childcare settings must continue to take swift action when they become aware of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their setting. Early years settings, schools, colleges and out of schools settings can contact the dedicated advice service introduced by Public Health England (PHE) and delivered by the NHS Business Services Authority for support on the action they should take to respond to a positive case.

The advice service can be reached by calling the DfE helpline on 0800 046 8687 and selecting option 1 for advice on the action to take in response to a positive case. Callers will be put through to a team of advisers who will inform them of what action is needed based on the latest public health advice. Any general queries relating to coronavirus and education and childcare settings should select option 3 or 4.

Early years and childcare

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare for the duration of the national restrictions:

  • early years settings and childminders remain open, and parents can continue to use these settings as normal
  • parents will be able to access other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for the purposes of respite care for carers
  • nannies will be able to continue to provide services in the home
  • parents are able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under
  • some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble, which allows single adult households to join another household

Settings should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in guidance.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of March 2021 (up to 80% of current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500).

Early years providers’ access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme remains as published.

The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1 November, has been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until the furlough scheme ends.

Find out more about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and all other business support that is being made available.

Face coverings

In early years settings, there is no change to the existing position. It is not mandatory for staff and visitors to wear face coverings.

In situations indoors where social distancing between adults in settings is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas), settings have the discretion to recommend the use of face coverings for adults on site, for both staff and visitors whilst acknowledging some individuals may be exempt.

Disapplications

Specific EYFS disapplications are in place for any provider who cannot comply with the early years foundation stage (EYFS) requirements in full due to restrictions or requirements imposed through the national lockdown.

Transport

Journeys should only be made:

  • for education or childcare
  • for work purposes
  • to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place
  • for visiting venues that are open
  • for a medical reason, such as taking someone to a hospital

If it is necessary to travel, those travelling are encouraged to walk where possible and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow people travelling to maintain social distancing.

If it is necessary for a childminder to pick up or drop off a child at school and walking is not practical, then a private vehicle for single household use is preferable. Use of public transport should be minimised.

Visitors to the setting

Settings should restrict all visits to the setting to those that are absolutely necessary. Visits that allow a vulnerable child to meet a social worker, key worker or other necessary support should continue on site.

Out-of-school activities and wraparound childcare

Out-of-school activities (including wraparound care) may continue to operate. However, parents may only access these settings where this is reasonably necessary to enable them to:

  • work or search for work
  • undertake training or education

Parents may also continue to use out-of-school activities for the purposes of respite care, including for vulnerable children.

Home educating parents may also continue to use out-of-school activities that are primarily used as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education. This could include, for example:

  • tuition centres
  • supplementary schools
  • private tutors

Youth support services, including 1-1 youth work and support groups, may also continue to operate.

Providers of out-of-school activities that continue to operate for face-to-face provision during this period should ensure that they make parents aware that their setting should only be accessed for the essential purposes outlined.

These settings should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in the protective measures for holiday clubs and after-school clubs and other out-of-school clubs for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance. Providers of youth services and activities should also refer to the National Youth Agency’s guidance for managing youth sector spaces and activities during COVID-19, where it is relevant to do so.

All other out of school activities, not being primarily used by parents for these purposes, should close for face-to-face provision for the duration of the national restrictions.

Face coverings

In out-of-school settings, face coverings should be used where it is a requirement of the indoor setting and where the teaching, training or activity is taking place in an area in which children aged 11 and over or staff are likely to come into contact with other members of the public.

Face coverings should be worn by adults and children aged 11 and above when moving around the premises indoors, outside of classrooms or activity rooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings and we expect settings to be sensitive to those needs and to be aware that the reasons for this may not be visible to others. This may include, but is not limited to, those who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment or disability. Or those who are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate.

Respite

Parents or carers of disabled children may continue to access respite care to support them in caring for their disabled child. Where activities are being provided solely for this purpose, they are able to continue.

Home education

Out-of-school activities that are primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education can continue to operate.

These may include, for example:

  • tuition centres
  • supplementary schools
  • private tutors

Clinically extremely vulnerable children and staff

Children

More evidence has emerged that shows there is a very low risk of children becoming very unwell from coronavirus (COVID-19), even for children with existing health conditions. Most children originally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable no longer need to follow original shielding advice. Parents should be advised to speak to their child’s GP or specialist clinician if they have not already done so, to understand whether their child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend out-of-school settings during the period this advice is in place. Where a meeting with a GP or specialist clinician has not taken place, the public health advice is that the child is still clinically extremely vulnerable and should not attend the setting.

Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, can still attend out-of-school settings.

Parents of clinically extremely vulnerable children will have received a letter confirming this advice.

Staff

Those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home and not to go into work. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP and may have been advised to shield in the past. Staff should talk to their employers about how they will be supported, including to work from home where possible, during the period of national restrictions. Out-of-school settings should continue to pay clinically extremely vulnerable staff on their usual terms.

All other staff should continue to attend work, including those living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Clinically vulnerable staff and children

Staff and children who are clinically vulnerable or have underlying health conditions but are not clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to attend out-of-school settings in line with current guidance.

Schools

Schools continue to remain open and allow all children and young people to attend as they have since the start of the autumn term for the duration of the national restrictions.

Being at school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time spent out of school is detrimental to children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of education, and children’s future ability to learn. It continues to be our aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time.

We have previously asked schools with secondary year groups to plan a rota system as part of education tier 2 of the contain framework, however during the period of national restrictions schools should continue to allow unrestricted attendance.

The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in the classroom far outweigh the low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) and schools can take action to reduce risks still further.

We published actions for schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to support schools in welcoming back all children from the start of the autumn term.

Schools should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in this guidance. These measures provide a framework for school leaders to put in place proportionate protective measures for pupils and staff. If schools follow the guidance and maximise control measures, they can be confident they are managing risk effectively.

Extra-curricular activities

Schools and colleges can and should be continuing to offer before and after school or college activities and clubs for their pupils, in order to enable parents to work, seek work, or to undertake education or training, and for the purposes of respite care (for vulnerable children). This includes activities and clubs related to PE, sport, music, dance and drama.

Schools may also continue to use external providers to offer these activities but should make sure that they operate within the protective measures outlined in the relevant government guidance, such as the actions for schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings guidance.

Music, dance and drama

Music, dance and drama can be undertaken in school but safety precautions should be undertaken. Advice is provided in the actions for schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Schools may also continue to offer before and after school educational provision to their pupils (including PE, sport, music, dance and drama), and may also provide other supervised activities for children where it is reasonably necessary. This to enable their parents or carers to work, seek work attend education or training, or where the provision is to support respite care (for vulnerable children). Where schools are offering these activities they should advise parents that they should only be using them for these purposes.

Residential providers and boarding schools

Residential providers should support students to reduce travel between home and educational accommodation unless absolutely necessary.

Where students normally travel between their boarding school and home during term time for the purpose of education, this is allowed.

Face coverings

In primary schools and education settings teaching year 6 and below, there is no change to the existing position.

It is not mandatory for staff and visitors to wear face coverings.

In situations indoors where social distancing between adults in settings is not possible (for example when moving around in corridors and communal areas), settings have the discretion to recommend the use of face coverings for adults when indoors on site, for both staff and visitors.

In schools where pupils in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults (staff and visitors) and pupils when moving around indoors in corridors and other communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. This was already the case for pupils in year 7 and above, and staff and visitors for those schools that were in areas where local alert level ‘high’ and ‘very high’. It will not usually be necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom, where protective measures already mean the risks are lower, and they may inhibit teaching and learning.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings and we expect adults and pupils to be sensitive to those needs and to be aware that the reasons for this may not be visible to others. This may include, but is not limited to, those who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment or disability. Or those who are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate.

Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in year 7 and above when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college unless they are exempt.

It is reasonable to assume that staff and young people will have access to face coverings due to their use in wider society, and Public Health England has made available resources on how to make a simple face covering.

However, where anybody is struggling to access a face covering, or where they are unable to use their face covering due to having forgotten it or it has become soiled or unsafe, education settings should take steps to have a small contingency supply available to meet such needs.

No-one should be excluded from education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.

Clinically extremely vulnerable children and staff

Children

More evidence has emerged that shows there is a very low risk of children becoming very unwell from coronavirus (COVID-19), even for children with existing health conditions. Most children originally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable no longer need to follow original shielding advice. Parents should be advised to speak to their child’s GP or specialist clinician if they have not already done so, to understand whether their child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend education whilst the national restrictions are in place. Schools will need to make appropriate arrangements to enable them to continue their education at home.

Where a meeting with a GP or specialist clinician has not taken place, the public health advice is that the child is still clinically extremely vulnerable and should not attend school. In these situations, schools must offer clinically extremely vulnerable children access to remote education.

Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education.

Parents of clinically extremely vulnerable children will have received a letter confirming this advice.

Staff

Those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home and not to go into work. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP and may have been advised to shield in the past. Staff should talk to their employers about how they will be supported, including to work from home where possible, during the period of national restrictions. Schools should continue to pay clinically extremely vulnerable staff on their usual terms.

All other staff should continue to attend work, including those living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Clinically vulnerable staff and children

Staff and children who are clinically vulnerable or have underlying health conditions but are not clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to attend school in line with current guidance.

Transport

The transport guidance sets out a framework for local authorities and schools to follow when arranging transport to and from schools from the autumn term. We are clear that there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach where the system of controls describes every scenario, but it provides a set of principles to support informed local decision making and risk assessment.

Children and young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering on public transport. Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in year 7 and above when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college. This does not apply to those who are exempt from wearing a face covering.

Travel in or out of local areas should be avoided, and parents, carers and staff should look to reduce the number of journeys they make - but travelling to deliver and access education is still permitted.

Staff, children and their parents and carers are encouraged to walk or cycle when travelling to and from school where this is possible and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow social distancing to be practised.

Exams

Exam resits that started on 2 November should continue and our exam support service will help colleges manage this process.

Public health guidance to support autumn exams has also been published. This guidance sets out arrangements that schools, colleges and other exam centres should implement when delivering exams in autumn 2020 to enable them to progress while reducing the transmission risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Education have been clear that exams will go ahead next summer, as they are the fairest and most accurate way to measure a pupil’s attainment. Pupils now have more time to prepare for their exams next year, as most AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held 3 weeks later to help address the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Testing for entry to selective schools

Tests can continue to be run for entry to selective schools. We consider travel to such tests to be essential travel.

Guidance on assessment processes for selective school admissions has been published which sets out protective health measures to be followed. There is also wider advice available on safe working in education settings.

Sport and physical education

It is important that children continue to remain fit and active and, wherever possible, have the 60 active minutes of daily physical activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officers.

Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided whilst following the measures in their system of controls.

In considering what team sports can be offered, those whose national governing bodies have developed guidance under the principles of the government’s guidance on team sport and been approved by the government are permitted. Schools must only provide team sports listed on the return to recreational team sport framework. Competition between different schools should not take place, in line with the wider restrictions on grassroots sport.

Pupils should be kept in consistent groups and sports equipment thoroughly cleaned between each use by different individual groups.

Schools can hold PE lessons indoors, including those that involve activities related to team sports, for example, practising specific techniques, within their own system of controls. For sports provision, outdoor sports should be prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not, maximising natural ventilation flows (through opening windows and doors or using air conditioning systems wherever possible), distancing between pupils and paying scrupulous attention to cleaning and hygiene. This is particularly important in a sports setting because of the way in which people breathe during exercise. External facilities can also be used in line with government guidance for the use of, and travel to and from, those facilities.

Schools are able to work with external coaches, clubs and organisations where they are satisfied that it is safe to do so. Schools should continue to offer before and after school clubs (including sport) in order to support parents to work, search for work, or undertake training or education and where provision may be used for the purposes of respite care (for vulnerable children).

Schools should consider carefully how such arrangements can operate within their wider protective measures.

Activities such as active miles, making break times and lessons active and encouraging active travel help to enable pupils to be physically active while encouraging physical distancing.

Children’s social care, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people

Children’s services and social care provision will continue as they have been to protect and support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people.

Children’s social care is an essential service and social workers and others working to support children can still attend work and travel for the purpose of work including visits to children and families.

Where children and young people under 18 do not live with their parents, they can still visit them. This includes looked after children having contact with birth parents or other carers before becoming looked after and contact with siblings who live in a different household.

The national restrictions allow people to move home. That includes looked after children moving to and settling into a new placement such as a foster home, residential care and includes introductory meetings with prospective adopters.

All looked after children and all disabled children and their families can continue to make use of respite care (also known as short break services).

Leaving care

Local authorities should read the guidance for children’s social care services.

We continue to recommend that no one should have to leave care during this period if they do not feel confident to do so.

Where young people do leave care during the period of national restrictions, it should be right for that young person and take account of their wishes and feelings. Settings they are moving into should be safe in relation to risk factors arising from coronavirus (COVID-19). Young people leaving residential care can continue to access support through Staying Close pilots.

Access to respite care

Looked after children and their foster families can access respite care (short breaks), where it is needed to prevent potential placement breakdown or to provide some additional support to the family.

These provisions allow children to leave their foster home to stay with a respite carer, or for another carer to come into the fostering household to give the carer an opportunity to recharge.

We would encourage fostering services to consider how they can offer respite care safely during the coming weeks, whilst making every effort to manage the risks that contact between different households may present. This may be through existing support bubbles, community care models, or relationships between local carers, for example.

Social care services for disabled children and young people - short break services (also known as respite)

Families caring for a disabled child or young person are eligible for short breaks services (also known as respite). We recognise the challenges for local authorities and providers in providing short breaks throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as the significant impact of reduced provision on families and on children and young people themselves.

Under the national restrictions from 5 November to 2 December, families with disabled children will continue to be able to make use of respite care which either provides care for children away from home or respite care which is delivered in the family home. This could include by way of Residential Holiday Schemes for Disabled Children.

We continue to encourage local authorities to prioritise this support for disabled children, and to consider flexible and pragmatic options to deliver that support; for example, some local authorities have made more use of direct payments beyond their usual criteria.

Where a child or young person with SEND is over the age of 13, a linked childcare household cannot be provided. However, the existing exemption of providing care for a vulnerable person has been extended to include people with a disability. This allows for any young person over the age of 13 (including young adults aged over 18) to receive care where this is necessary for their parent or carer to work, access education or training, or for respite.

Further education and apprenticeships

Further education (FE) providers will remain open to on site delivery for the duration of the national restrictions.

FE providers should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in the actions for FE colleges and providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance.

Apprenticeship providers should continue to follow the guidance for providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Face coverings

In FE settings, face coverings should be worn by adults (staff and visitors) and students when moving around indoors in corridors and other communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Face coverings must be worn when travelling on public transport and should also be worn on dedicated transport to FE settings.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. For example, people who:

  • cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment or disability
  • are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate

We would expect students and staff to be sensitive to those needs and to be aware that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

Exams

Exam resits that started on 2 November should continue and our exam support service will help FE providers manage this process.

Public health guidance to support autumn exams has also been published. This guidance sets out arrangements that FE providers and other exam centres should implement when delivering exams in autumn 2020 to enable them to progress while reducing the transmission risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Education have been clear that exams will go ahead next summer, as they are the fairest and most accurate way to measure a pupil’s attainment. Students now have more time to prepare for their exams next year, as most AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held 3 weeks later to help address the disruption caused by the pandemic.

It is expected that for the majority of vocational and technical qualifications that are taken alongside or instead of GCSEs, AS and A levels, awarding organisations will look to align timetables with 2021 exams.

Remote learning

FE providers delivering 16 to 19 study programmes should continue to deliver the majority of planned learning hours on site. Providers should not further restrict on-site delivery unless they have had written public health advice to do so. In this case, providers should inform their ESFA territorial team. If it is strictly necessary for a provider to reduce on site delivery, they should discuss this with their ESFA territorial team directly, ahead of any announcement.

Providers should preserve provision on site for learners who need it, including vulnerable learners, children of key workers and learners without access to devices or connectivity at home.

In mixed-age classes, comprising both 16 to 19 year olds and those over 19, decisions on the best approach to curriculum delivery rest with individual providers, having regard to relevant guidance. It would not be appropriate to treat members of the same class differently because of their age. Where mixed-age provision is delivered face to face this should continue as far is practically possible.

For adult education, we are asking providers to consider moving to remote learning, where possible to do so. Providers should use the existing flexibilities within the FE operational guidance to make sure they can still achieve educational objectives. Where education needs to continue on site to enable access to equipment, or where students cannot access remote delivery, this can continue in a COVID-secure way.

Recruitment and enrolment

FE settings should restrict all visits to the setting to those that are necessary. This means suspending in person recruitment events.

For enrolment, it is appropriate for FE providers to consider alternative options to face-to-face meetings where possible.

Where face-to-face meetings are arranged, providers should make clear to potential students that they must adhere to the system of controls that the setting has in place. This includes no gathering at entrance gates or doors, maintaining social distancing, and wearing face masks in communal areas. Ultimately, minimising contact and mixing between people reduces transmission of coronavirus and providers must consider how best to implement this.

Residential providers

Residential providers should support students to reduce travel between home and educational accommodation unless absolutely necessary, and in particular residential students on adult programmes should remain in their educational accommodation if possible and not move between home and educational accommodation during term time, in line with the approach for universities.

Where students normally travel between their setting and home during term time for the purpose of education this is allowed.

Public facing facilities

Public facing facilities that are used for the purposes of training, for example, hair salons, restaurants and gyms, should no longer be open to members of the general public from 5 November in line with the closure of these businesses in the wider community for the duration of the current restrictions.

Apprenticeships and other training in the workplace

Apprenticeship delivery and assessment (including the assessment of functional skills qualifications (FSQs)) is extremely flexible and can continue to take place in person or online.

Face to face training and assessment can continue to take place in the workplace (where it is open), in education and assessment settings, and in community settings where a venue is being used for training or assessment.

It is up to training providers, employers, end point assessment organisations and FSQ assessment organisations to agree on how apprenticeship training is delivered, and how assessments are undertaken. They should consider whether they want to take advantage of more than one delivery method to balance minimising any risks from coronavirus (COVID-19) with providing a full educational experience, in line with the guidance on providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

For adult apprentices, employers, providers, end point assessment organisations and FSQ assessment organisations should review how training and assessments are taking place and identify opportunities to increase the proportion of online training and assessment where that is appropriate.

Where in-person delivery is essential this can continue providing all relevant COVID-19 guidance is complied with.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education have set out the existing agreed additional flexibilities to the delivery of end point assessment in their end point assessment guidance and supporting FAQ document. Their list of standards with temporary discretions or flexibilities can be found on their website.

The government is also supporting ongoing employment through the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Sport and physical education

Sport and physical education as part of education and training can continue.

Outdoor sports should be prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not, maximising distancing between consistent student groups and paying scrupulous attention to cleaning and hygiene and using maximum fresh air ventilation through either opening doors and windows or ventilation systems.

Competition between different providers should not take place, in line with the wider restrictions on grassroots sport.

Extra-curricular activities and college clubs

Where FE providers are offering extra-curricular activities (that is, before and after college clubs) they should only do so where it is reasonably necessary to support parents to work, search for work, or undertake training or education, or where the provision is being used for the purposes of respite care and in order to enable students to access provision that supports their education.

This includes activities or clubs related to PE, sport, music, dance and drama, as well as catch-up clubs, revision or booster classes for students.

FE providers may also continue to use external providers to offer these activities, provided that they operate within the protective measures outlined in the relevant government guidance, such as the FE operational guidance.

Transport

Travel in or out of your local area should be avoided, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make but travelling to deliver and access education or childcare is still permitted.

Face coverings must be worn on public transport and should also be worn on dedicated transport to education settings. This does not apply to those who are exempt from wearing face coverings.

If staff and students need to travel, they are encouraged to walk or cycle where possible and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow social distancing to be practised whilst travelling.

Clinically extremely vulnerable young people and staff

Young people

The evidence shows there is a very low risk of becoming very unwell from coronavirus (COVID-19), even for young people with existing health conditions. Young people under 18 who were originally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable should speak to their GP or specialist clinician if they have not already done so, to understand whether they should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Those young people whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend face-to-face education whilst the national restrictions are in place. Colleges should make appropriate arrangements to enable them to continue their education at home. Where a meeting with a GP or specialist clinician has not taken place, the public health advice is that the young person is still clinically extremely vulnerable and should not attend their further education setting.

Young people who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education.

Adult learners

Those students who are 18 and over who receive a letter confirming that they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend face-to-face education whilst the national restrictions are in place. Colleges should make appropriate arrangements to enable them to continue their education at home.

Students who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education.

Staff

Those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home and not attend their workplace. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP, and may have been advised to shield in the past.

Staff should talk to their employers about how they will be supported, including to work from home where possible, during the period of national restrictions. Colleges should continue to pay clinically extremely vulnerable staff on their usual terms.

All other staff should continue to attend work on site where they would normally do so, including those living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Clinically vulnerable people

Staff and children who are clinically vulnerable or have underlying health conditions but are not clinically extremely vulnerable, may continue to attend education in line with current guidance.

If clinically vulnerable staff have concerns around their individual circumstances, you should discuss those concerns and be flexible in seeking to address them. Some roles, such as administrative roles, may be conducive to home working and you should consider what is appropriate.

Higher education

Universities have welcomed students back and we have published guidance advising universities on reopening to ensure they have safety measures in place to minimise the spread of the virus.

Universities and adult education settings should consider moving to increased levels of remote learning where possible. Further guidance on the consideration of online and in person tuition is available.

Like everyone, if students live at university, they should remain in their current accommodation and must not move back and forward between their permanent home and student home during term time. Students should only return home at the end of term for Christmas. See the guidance on student movement and plans for the end of term for more information.

Clinically extremely vulnerable students and staff

Students

Students who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to study from home and not to go into their university or higher education setting. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP and may have been advised to shield in the past.

Where a meeting with a GP or specialist clinician has not taken place, the public health advice is that the student is still clinically extremely vulnerable and should not attend in-person education within their university or higher education setting.

Students who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education.

Staff

Those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home and not to go into work. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP, and may have been advised to shield in the past. Staff should talk to their employers about how they will be supported, including to work from home where possible, during the period of national restrictions. Universities should continue to pay clinically extremely vulnerable staff on their usual terms.

All other staff should continue to attend work, including those living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Clinically vulnerable people

Staff and students who are clinically vulnerable or have underlying health conditions but are not clinically extremely vulnerable may continue to attend face-to-face education in line with current guidance where it is provided.

Ofsted

Ofsted has confirmed how it will carry out its work during the period of national restrictions across its remits.

Published 4 November 2020
Last updated 16 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. We have updated the guidance on out-of-school activities and wraparound childcare, clinically extremely vulnerable children and staff, and extra-curricular activities in schools, and added clarification on when face coverings should be worn.

  2. Updated the early years and childcare, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and apprenticeships sections.

  3. First published.