UK-wide education updates

In this article

England

School bubbles and self-isolation restrictions to end from 19 July

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that the use of bubbles in England’s schools and staggered start times will come to an end from 19 July.

Some protective measures, such as those related to ventilation and hygiene, are expected to stay. But pupils will no longer be required to wear face coverings or to socially distance. Face coverings will no longer be required on school transport.

And from 16 August, pupils under the age of 18 will no longer have to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace because they’ve been near someone with Covid-19. Instead, they will be expected to take a PCR test.

Asymptomatic LFD testing of pupils and staff will continue in the autumn term until the end of September, when this will be reviewed.

Read the updated guidance at gov.uk.

Schools and colleges reopened for all children and young people from 8 March

This means that attendance is now mandatory for children of compulsory school age unless that child receives a positive Covid-19 test or has to self-isolate.

Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) children

The Department for Education (DfE) updated its schools coronavirus operations guidance for England, which confirmed that all CEV pupils should have started attending their school from Thursday 1 April.

The only exception is if your child is one of the very small number of pupils under paediatric or other specialist care who have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend.

Pupils who live with someone who is CEV should continue to attend school as normal.

Children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans

It remains the duty of the local authority and health commissioning body to secure or arrange the provision specified in Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. All therapies and support that would normally be in place for children and young people with EHC plans should be provided.

There may be times when it becomes more difficult to do so than usual. In collaboration with local authorities and health partners (where applicable), schools should work with families to co-produce alternative arrangements for delivering provision.

School transport

Face coverings are still recommended to be worn on school transport by children and young people over 11.

Testing and masks for secondary school pupils

Secondary school pupils and staff are recommended to wear face coverings in classrooms and during activities unless social distancing can be maintained. These measures will end on 19 July. There are exceptions for those who cannot wear a mask because of a disability or illness, or because they are supporting someone with a communication need.

Northern Ireland

All pupils have now returned to school

All pupils have now returned to a school setting in Northern Ireland.

You can read the guidance on the nidirect website.

Scotland

Full return to school in April

More information can be found on the gov.scot website.

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).

Wales

Schools opened for all pupils in APril

See the latest guidance on schools in Wales.

General guidelines

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.