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UK-wide education updates

Last updated: 22 April 2022

Information for families with disabled children about the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and changes to school, nursery and college openings.

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Attendance, absence and remote learning

Attendance is mandatory for pupils of compulsory school age in all four UK nations. This includes children who were previously shielding due to being clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV). Pupils who live with someone who is CEV should continue to attend school as normal.

The only exception to this is a small number of children whose clinician or GP has advised them not to attend.

We know that many parents are worried about their child being in school. Talk to your child’s school about the measures they’re taking to keep children safe.

Schools should provide remote learning to pupils who can’t be in school, for example if they have tested positive for Covid-19 but are well enough to study.

Testing, self-isolation and contact tracing

In England, household contacts of a positive case are no longer advised to isolate unless they develop Covid-19 symptoms. It is no longer recommended that children and young people test for Covid. If your child has Covid symptoms, they should remain at home until they are well enough to attend school and no longer have a high temperature, if they did.

In Wales, close contacts of a positive case do not need to self-isolate unless they develop Covid-19 symptoms. Children over five with Covid-19 symptoms should take a test and follow self-isolation guidance. Children under five do not need to take a test and can return to school when they feel well enough.

In Scotland, children and young people under 18 years and 4 months do not need to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive case. Instead, they should take daily LFD tests for seven days/until day 10 of their isolation period, whichever comes first. If the school informs you that your child is a ‘low risk’ contact, they do not need to take any tests. Children under five do not need to self-isolate or take daily tests, but are encouraged to take a one-off LFD test. Find out more at NHSinform.scot.

In Northern Ireland, children identified as school-based close contacts will be asked to self-isolate and take a lateral flow test as soon as possible, and then daily for ten days. Children who have Covid symptoms should stay at home and arrange a test.

Regular asymptomatic testing in mainstream education settings has ended in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Asymptomatic testing in special schools continues in Northern Ireland.

Face coverings and social distancing

All social distancing and face covering rules in education settings in England have ended.

In Scotland, face coverings are no longer mandatory but might be encouraged by the school for secondary pupils in communal areas. Children, young people and staff should follow the wider societal guidance on physical distancing in schools.

In Wales, secondary school aged should wear face coverings in communal areas outside the classroom where social distancing can’t be maintained, and on school transport.

In Northern Ireland,  after the Easter break it is no longer recommended that post-primary pupils wear face coverings on school premises. Social distancing is encouraged.

Further information

Read the latest government guidance for:

Scotland

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

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