Guidance on maintaining educational provision
Now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of coronavirus, the government is encouraging all eligible children to attend settings (where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household), even if parents are able to keep their children at home.
From the week commencing 1 June, the government is also asking primary schools to welcome back all children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups.
From 15 June, the government is asking secondary schools, sixth-form colleges and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support for year 10 and year 12, and 16-19 learners in the first year of their course who are due to take key exams next year, alongside priority groups.
The Government is also asking nurseries and other early years providers, including childminders, to begin welcoming back children of all ages from 1 June.
Alternative provision settings should mirror the approach being taken for mainstream schools and, from 15 June, offer some face-to-face support for years 10 and 11 students (as they have no year 12). The government is asking special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools to follow an equivalent phased return without a focus on specific year groups.
Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
The definition of critical workers remains unchanged and includes:
- Health and social care
- Education and childcare
- Key public services
- Local and national government
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
- Utilities, communication and financial services
A further breakdown of these sectors and more information can be found here.
The coronavirus outbreak is expected to continue having a significant impact on the education system, and the country, for months to come. Therefore exams have been cancelled now to give pupils, parents, and teachers certainty, and enable schools and colleges to focus on supporting vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
Ofqual, the independent qualifications regulator, will develop a fair and robust process that takes into account a broad range of evidence, including teacher assessment and prior attainment. Ofqual will make every effort to ensure that the process agreed does not disadvantage any particular group of students.
The calculated grades awarded will be formal grades, with the same status as grades awarded in any other year.
University representatives have already confirmed that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.
Guidance on the cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A-Levels in 2020 can be found here.
Plans set out to support pupils eligible for free school meals
Families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers, food or meals to make sure they continue receiving this support, even if they are no longer attending school due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Secretary of State for Education said:
No child who would ordinarily receive a free school meal should go without this while their school is closed or while they are having to self-isolate at home. By giving headteachers flexibility on how they can get meals or shop vouchers to these children, they can make the most appropriate decisions for families in their communities, and provide immediate reassurance that this important support will continue.
More information can be found here.