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Coronavirus | Updates, advice and resources for families and practitioners

Coronavirus | Guidance for parents and carers (including education and childcare)

This section provides advice for parents and carers, including guidance on education, childcare and activities. Please look at the guidance below by clicking on each section. 

National lockdown: roadmap out of lockdown

Social contact

As part of Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances. This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

Business and activities

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen - and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.


Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.


For a quick summary of the latest guidance from the Government see the Covid 19 Roadmap Poster Step 3.

Children accessing registered early years and childcare, schools and colleges in spring term 2021

Schools, Colleges and Higher Education

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will reopen on Monday 8 March in accordance to recent Government guidance.


Childcare and early years support for children under 5 years

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare in Tier 4 areas:

  • early years settings and childminders remain open for early years children, and you can continue to use these settings as normal
  • nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home
  • parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under
  • some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble


Childcare and activities for school aged children 

Providers who run community activities, before or after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school or childcare provision (including wraparound childcare) for children over the age of five are able to continue to open for both indoor and outdoor provision in spring term 2021, but for limited children, as shown below:



29 March to 11 April: Vulnerable children, children whose parents/carers need to use childcare solely to work, seek work, attend education or training, medical appointments or to address a medical need, or where it is part of an existing arrangement for elective home education

12 April at the earliest: All children


As with children under 5 years, parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare (where the child is 13 or under) and some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble.

Some youth services are able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

Informal childcare (childcare bubbles)

Families can continue to use informal childcare by setting up a 'childcare bubble'. This is where someone in one household provides informal and unpaid childcare to a child under 14 from another household.

Please note the following guidance for 'childcare bubbles': 

  • You can use either your home or the relatives home as the setting for the childcare
  • If you create a childcare bubble between two households you can only use it for the purpose of providing childcare
  • Any childcare bubble must always be between the same two households
  • Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of your support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare

Extracurricular and leisure activities

Is your child attending an out of school setting?

This includes:

  • tuition
  • community activities
  • other out-of-school settings for children and young people aged 5 and over during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The Government has issued guidelines to help you make the right decisions for their safety, wellbeing and enjoyment of their activities. More info on GOV.UK

For general information on Out of School Activities in the borough and keeping your children safe in these settings, please visit the Out of School Setting pages on the Redbridge website. More info...

Children's Centres

Children's Centres are continuing to provide services to families with babies and young children. There are online activities and parenting support groups, one to one support opportunities and lots of fun and educational ideas for you to use throughout the holidays. More info. 

Do More... 

For information about virtual events and activities see Vision's Do More at home page.


People can spend time in the park while maintaining social distancing and in a group of no more than 6. Our tennis courts, games areas and skate parks are now open.

Children’s play areas, outdoor gyms and the bouldering facility at Fairlop Waters are now open.


Redbridge Central Library is open with reduced opening hours of 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

South Woodford Library is open with the reduced hours of Monday to Friday 6am to 7pm and Saturday-Sunday 8am to 6pm.

Goodmayes Library is open with the reduced hours of Monday to Tuesday 10am to 5pm, Thursday to Friday 10am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm.

Wanstead Library is open with the reduced hours of hours of Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm.

Fullwell Cross Library is open with the reduced hours of Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm.

All other libraries are currently closed, but we are working to make it safe and ready. We do not have a timescale for this at the moment.

A fines amnesty is in place which means that there will be no charges for overdue materials for the time being and books will be automatically renewed. 

Access E-books, online newspapers and magazines and other services online.

Leisure centres

Redbridge Cycling Centre is open with the reduced opening hours of 10am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday.

Ashton Playing Fields is open with limited opening hours.

All leisure centres are open but using the facilities will be different.

Owls Play Centre, Fairlop Outdoor Activity Centre and Cricklefields remain closed until further notice.

More info on the Vision RCL website.

Places to Go & Things to Do

You can continue to use our Places to Go and Things to Do sections on the website for ideas of activities during the year.  Please note however that these records have not been updated during COVID and therefore there will be some venues or activities that are closed or are restricted at this time. Please ensure you check their website or contact the provider by phone/email before you set off. 

What to do if your child has symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If your child develops any of these symptoms at home they should not return to their childcare or education setting until they have received a negativve COVID test result. If you do not wish to access a test for your child then they must isolate and not to return to education or chlidcare for 10 days. 

Where a child presents symptoms of coronavirus when in their childcare or education setting, they will contact you immediately to make arrangements for your child to be collected and to go home. Families will then be expected to follow the guidance on self-isolation and coronavirus testing. More info on the NHS website.

Confirmed cases in a childcare or education setting

If it is confirmed that a child or staff member has tested positive for COVID, the childcare or education setting will make contact with those who have been in close contact in the days prior to the individual becoming symptomatic, or where they don't have symptoms in the days prior to receiving a positive test result. 

Everyone in contact with the confirmed case, both children and staff, will be asked to isolate for 10 days. Those asked to isolate should only access a test if they get symptoms. A negative test within the 10 days would not enable return to the setting and the individual would still need to isolate for the full 10 days. More info on self-isolation and treatment on the NHS website.

Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing

The Council’s Education Psychology service has set up a helpdesk which can provide specific advice and guidance. You can access the helpline on 07741 331009 Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 12pm, Wednesday evening from 5.00pm to 7.00pm.

In addition:

  • Young Minds have produced a guide for children’s well-being which you can access at. More info on the Young Minds website.
  • Place 2 Be children’s charity to support child and family mental well being have some useful information to help alleviate children's anxieties. More info...
  • Public Health England have also published a guide for parents and carers on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing during the outbreak. More info here.

Talking to children about coronavirus

A range of advice and guidance pages have been set up by the NHS, the BBC and other organisations to help families address the impact on children and young people.

The Department for Education have also set up a phone and email helpline

Supporting children’s learning at home

Primary school children 


Children under 5 years


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