Schools - coronavirus
As coronavirus cases continue to rise and hospitals across the country are under severe pressure, the Prime Minister has announced a national lockdown. The new measures are similar to the lockdown in the spring, and started from midnight on Monday 4 January 2021.
Under the new national measures colleges and all schools (primary, lower, middle, secondary and upper) will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. However, all parents and carers should keep their children at home, if they can.
All other children will learn remotely until 8 March at the earliest.
Early years settings remain open.
You can read more on the government's website.
Schools are working hard to ensure that remote learning is in place for all students. The switch from planned face-to-face to remote learning may take a few days and schools will be in touch directly when they are up and running. Once you have heard from your child’s school, please speak to the school directly if you have any problems accessing the provision.
Schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. The health and wellbeing of pupils and staff is top priority for all schools, and they will do all they can to minimise risks. You should check with your school about its plans if your child falls into one of these categories, and it is not possible for them to be at home.
Free school meals
During the lockdown announcement on 4 January, the Prime Minister announced that extra support will be available to ensure that pupils entitled to free school meals will continue to receive them while schools are closed. If your child is eligible for free school meals, their school will be in touch to explain how you can access this support.
Support for children who don’t have access to technology
The Department for Education (DfE) is continuing to provide tablets and laptops to schools to support children who are unable to work remotely because they do have access to the relevant technology. We are still awaiting further information about eligibility criteria for the scheme, but if technology is a barrier then please make your child’s school aware in the first instance.
The DfE is also introducing a scheme that will allow schools to apply for mobile phone data for disadvantaged pupils in years 3 to 11 who do not have internet access for remote learning. Where this is not appropriate, schools may be able to apply for 4G routers. Parents should contact their children’s schools in the first instance.
Information for parents of SEND and vulnerable children
Over the next few days, the Department for Education will be announcing further guidance with a focus on SEND and vulnerable children and young people. We will share this information on our Local Offer Facebook page, in our SEND News email bulletin and online, when we have it.
We know that these are challenging times, and we are continually working with SNAP PCF, schools, and social care and health colleagues to ensure we are doing everything we can support our families. As ever, if you have any suggestions on what more we can do to support you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If attending school, pupils and adults in schools and colleges with pupils in year 7 and above, should wear face coverings when moving around the school or college outside of the classroom, for example in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot be easily managed.
Visit GOV.UK to find out what you need to know about the government's guidance on schools during lockdown.
When to get a test
Your child should get a COVID-19 test if they have any of the following main symptoms:
- new, continuous cough
- high fever or temperature
- loss or change of taste or smell
COVID-19 tests are only for those people displaying one or more of the main symptoms.
How to get a test
If your child has any of these symptoms, then they should:
- get a test as soon as possible, to check if they have coronavirus
- follow the government's guidance to stay at home and do not have visitors until you get the test result (only leave your home to have a test); anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result
- tell the school
For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness, but it’s important to follow this guidance to help stop the spread.
Don't call 111
Don't call 111 if you need a test. Find out how to get a test.
111 should be used for those who need urgent medical advice. It cannot be used to arrange coronavirus testing.
Test availability is refreshed throughout the day, if tests are not available near you, please try again later.
School admission appeals
Find out how school admission appeals are affected, in light of government advice.
Advice for parents and carers
You may have many questions about everything that is happening at the moment. We have put together a page of useful resources that can help you find information and advice on topics such as childcare, health and wellbeing, critical workers, school opening and transport, family information and more.