Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales


The three devolved nations do not plan to follow England's roadmap to reopen schools from 1 June.

Schools remain closed for more pupils, aside from those in priority groups such as vulnerable children and children of keyworkers.

Northern Ireland

School reopenings

The new school term will begin on 24 August 2020 for Primary 7, Year 12 and Year 14 pupils and for vulnerable children across all year groups. All other pupils will return at normal start dates, which may vary depending on school.

The Department of Education has published new guidance setting out how schools should plan for the new school day and is available on the Department of Education website.

More information about education

Visit nidirect.gov.uk for all the latest updates in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland has published its own guidance on vulnerable children.

Scotland

School reopenings

Latest update on Thursday 30 July: Schools in Scotland will re-open from 11 August and new guidance published

The Scottish government announced that all schools in Scotland will reopen full time in August.

New guidance has been published to support local authorities, teachers and parents to prepare for the new term and minimise the risks of Covid-19 transmission through the application of a number of infection mitigation measures. Every school will carry out a risk assessment and put in place enhanced hygiene and cleaning arrangements.

In line with scientific advice, primary pupils will not need to physically distance from each other. The scientific advice also makes clear that distancing is not required for a safe return to secondary schools.

However, as an additional precautionary measure, the guidance says that where possible secondary schools should take practical, proportionate steps to encourage distancing between young people, particularly in the senior phase, provided it does not introduce capacity constraints. This goes beyond the requirements of the scientific advice, and represents an additional measure to minimise risk.

School staff will need to physically distance from each other and, where possible, from children and young people who are not part of the same household. For the majority of staff in schools, personal protective equipment will not be necessary, but guidelines make clear the exceptions to this position.

While all schools are reopening, there may be some arrangements particular to your local authority. The latest plans as schools prepare to reopen can be found on your local authority website where specific information on special schools, after-school clubs and holiday clubs should also be available.

In addition to Test and Protect - Scotland's test, trace, isolate, support strategy - a surveillance programme is being developed for schools, where regular testing and survey data will identify symptoms and infections in the school population. This will allow regular reporting on incidences of infection and inform the ongoing development of guidance for schools.

For full details visit Guidance for preparing for the start of the new school term in August 2020. There is also specific guidance for Coronavirus: residential childcare guidance.

You can watch a short film from the Scottish Government's National Clinical Director, Jason Leitch providing Advice for parents as schools open.

Children with Additional support needs going back to school

Children with additional support needs (ASN) can go back to school when they reopen unless the childs' GP or healthcare team has advised against it.

It is understandable that you may have concerns about the reopening of schools and childcare settings. Schools and local authorities know that this has been a difficult time for children with ASN, and there has been a lot of work done to make sure that every child will continue to receive the ongoing support they need and to do that safely.

Some children and young people will need specific help and preparation for the changes to routine that these measures will involve, so staff should plan to meet these needs, for example using social stories.

Your child's school should update you with the plans they have put in place for children with ASN. If you have any questions or concerns, do contact the school or nursery directly.

Placing request refusals

If you have received a letter to inform you that your child has not been granted the nursery/school you had requested then you can appeal this decision.

If you have not received a letter and it has been three months since the date you applied then your request is treated as being refused (deemed refusal). Currently due to COVID, there are three months rather than the normal two for it to be classed as a deemed refusal.

Let's Talk ASN Scotland is a free service for parents of children with additional support needs who may require support in relation to a dispute or potential dispute with an education authority. It is funded by the Scottish Government to provide advocacy support for the parents of children with ASN with a right to make a reference to the ASN Tribunal for Scotland.

This service can support you through the process of appealing any decision, including placing request refusals. Email: letstalkasn@edlaw.org.uk or Tel: 0141 440 2503 to find out more.

Further Support

Enquire, the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning (ASL), has specific information on how coronavirus is affecting ASL in Scotland at this time including information on the Additional Support Needs Tribunal.

Mindroom is a charity dedicated to supporting those living with a learning difficulty. They have developed a back to school toolkit for children of different ages, including a printable workbook for them to fill in.

Contact in Scotland - If you have a query or would like to talk through any concerns you have about your child going back to school or need other information and support just now, then please don't hesitate to email our enquiry line Scotland.office@contact.org.uk or call 07458 046071 (Monday to Wednesdays).

Extra funding for additional teachers

The Scottish Government also announced that an additional £30 million will be allocated to Scottish local authorities to bring in additional teachers, building on the £45 miillion previously announced.

The total amount will be enough to recruit approximately 1,400 extra teachers to support education recovery and accelerate progress in achieving excellence and equity for Scotland's children.

Wales

School reopenings

Latest update on Wednesday 12 August: Schools in Wales will re-open from 1 September and new guidance published

Schools will reopen and begin to welcome back learners from 1 September. Many schools will be adopting a phased approach for the first two weeks of term, but all learners will be back in school by 14 September.

Schools may consider staged arrival, departure and break and may therefore need to make temporary changes to the start and finish times of the school day. This supports the advice contained within the operational guidance for schools and settings from the autumn term that schools should consider staggering start and finish times to limit contact groups.

Actions for schools and local authorities

School governing bodies and local authorities should ensure they are able to welcome back all learners by 14 September and should plan their school session times based on the latest advice provided by the Welsh Government.

Changes to the start and end times of the school day, as well as lunch breaks, are permitted without the need for prior consultation or giving notice, for the purposes of increasing operations during the coronavirus pandemic only.

Changes to start and finish times can be disruptive for working parents. In addition, shortened break times may detrimentally affect learners, particularly if time to eat is limited. Schools and local authorities should ensure they carefully consider the impact on learners and parents when making such changes. Consideration should also be given to the impact that any changes may have on arrangements for dedicated school transport.

There are concerns that some pupils may have fallen behind with their learning. What is Welsh Government doing to address this issue from September?

The Welsh Government will provide an additional £29 million to schools to boost support for learners at crucial stages in their education from September.

The equivalent of 600 extra teachers and 300 teaching assistants will be recruited throughout the next school year, targeting extra support at Years 11, 12 and 13, as well as disadvantaged and vulnerable learners of all ages. This will support learners taking their A level and GCSEs in 2021 and those known to have been affected most.

The support package, provided at a school level, could include extra coaching support, personalised learning programmes and additional time and resources for exam year pupils. A range of teaching approaches will be relevant, including blended learning.

Who should schools inform if a learner or staff member has displayed symptoms of COVID-19?

Persons displaying symptoms of Covid-19 should be sent home, and advised to arrange a test and ensure self-isolation guidance is adhered to. For learners, parents should be advised to arrange a test for their child. If the test comes back positive, the contact tracing system will commence for that case.

Contact tracers will get in touch with the school if there is a suspected cluster or potential outbreak, where they will ask for information from the school as to who was in the classroom if needed. Pupils and staff should only request a test if they are symptomatic, not if they suspect contact with a potentially positive case.

For full details visit Welsh Government website - Schools: coronavirus. There is also specific guidance for School admission appeals: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance on learning in schools and settings from the autumn term: Keep Education Safe (COVID-19)

The Childrens Commissioner for Wales has a Coronavirus Information Hub for Families and Children including information & advice, support, activities.

Guidance while schools are shut

The Welsh government has guidance for parents and carers to support you and your children to stay safe and healthy and to support children to continue learning while schools are shut due to COVID-19.

Wales has its own guidance on vulnerable children and young people.