Skip to main content
Coronavirus | Updates, advice and resources for families and practitioners

Coronavirus | Guidance for schools

In this section you will find a summary of the briefings, guidance and policies we have sent you since 18 March 2020. 

Should you require any further advice or support please contact provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk.     

Sharing support info with parents and carers

We would be grateful if you could share the following guidance with your parents and carers. These can be shared through school's social media channels, email or other contact methods. 

https://find.redbridge.gov.uk/kb5/redbridge/fsd/site.page?id=0XTUXqqZ8B0

Confirmed/suspected cases and isolation for those attending or working at the setting

Who needs to self-isolate?

  • Where an individual lives alone and has symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID19), however mild, they must stay at home for 7 days from when symptoms start.
  • Where an individual lives with others and any member of the household has symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days from the day when the first person in the house becomes ill. If anyone in the household starts displaying symptoms they must stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.

PHE Guidance: Stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

 

What do we do if a member of staff needs to self-isolate?

  • You’ll have your own procedure for staff advising you of absence/self-isolation
  • Our advice is that if a member of staff is self-isolating as a precaution, you should record the reasons (e.g. they have cough/high temp symptoms, it’s linked to travel or it’s linked to a family member they live with self-isolating)
  • You should also record the date on which they start to self-isolate so that you can follow it up if needed when the 7-14 day period ends
  • The advice at present is that where self-isolation is a precautionary measure there is no need to notify parents/wider community. Equally there is no need to take additional precautions beyond what you are already doing in terms of promoting hygiene, managing the practical implications of absence, and cleaning the premises

 

What do we do if a parent advises us that a child is self-isolating?

  • The process is similar to that for staff
  • When you record the notification of self-isolation you should ask for the reasons if possible and record these
  • Where self-isolation is precautionary, there is no need to advice other parents
  • Again, there is no need to take additional precautions beyond what you already do in terms of promoting hygiene, managing the practical implications of absence, and cleaning the premise
  • If you think a child within your setting has the symptoms of Coronavirus: a new, persistent cough and/or a high temperature and you think they SHOULD be self-isolating, contact the parent/family and advise accordingly. If possible, whilst waiting for the child to be collected, move them to another room away from the other children and any vulnerable adults. If this is not possible, try to maintain a 2-metre distance between the child and others.
  • Eligible children who are in a household that is self-isolating will continue to receive early years funded

 

What do we do if a staff member or a pupil is confirmed as having coronavirus?

  • Record the absence and notify the Local Authority
  • Where a diagnosis has been made, you should be contacted by Public Health directly to provide further advice
  • Should you not receive the direct advice please email provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk and we will follow that up accordingly
  • While waiting on advice, if possible make arrangements to do any additional cleaning of areas where the staff member or child may have been based recently
  • The current advice is that where cases are diagnosed there is no requirement at this stage to inform parents/wider community
  • Eligible children who are confirmed as having coronavirus will continue to receive early years funded

 

What steps need to be taken when children, students or staff with suspected COVID-19 have attended the educational setting?

  • The Government has published extensive guidance on what to do if you are worried that a pupil or member of staff with suspected COVID-19 has attended the educational setting
  • This includes:
    • How to prevent the spread of infection
    • How to clean educational establishments when suspected cases of COVID-19 have attended
    • What to do with rubbish in the educational establishment, including tissues, if children, students or staff become unwell with suspected COVID-19.
    • Follow the guidance shown above on recording self-isolation
    • Eligible children who are suspected of having coronavirus will continue to receive early years funding

Summary of school closures and who can continue to attend

The government’s key message continues to be that parents are to keep their children at home, wherever possible. Schools are to remain closed, except for those children who absolutely need to attend.

All schools are asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and for children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

DfE Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): early years and childcare closures

 

Which children can continue to attend?

Children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home

DfE Guidance: Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision

  

Are siblings of eligible children able to attend?

No, only if they meet the criteria in their own right.

 

Which children are considered vulnerable?

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak vulnerable children and young people are defined as those who:

  • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) Plan whose needs cannot be met safely in the home environment
  • have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by education providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision. This might include children on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services, adopted children, or those who are young carers, and others at the provider and local authority discretion

Read Supporting vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak

 

Is it compulsory for children with a social worker (CIN/CP/LAC) to attend?

  • These children and young people are encouraged to attend provision, unless their social worker decides that they are at less risk at home or in their placement, for example, due to underlying health conditions.
  • Where a vulnerable child does not take up their place at school or college or discontinues, the provider should notify their social worker. Where appropriate, they should keep in contact with the family.

 

Are all children with an EHC plan expected to attend?

  • DfE are asking local authorities to work with educational providers, families and the child or young person to carry out a risk assessment to judge whether the child or young person’s needs cannot be met safely at home.
  • Where the risk assessment determines a child or young person with an EHC plan will be as safe or safer at an educational setting, it may be more appropriate for them to attend the educational setting.
  • Many children and young people who have an EHC plan can remain safely at home. Where the risk assessment determines a child or young person with an EHC plan will be safer at home, it may be more appropriate for them to stay at home.

DfE Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): SEND risk assessment guidance

 

Who are defined as key workers?

  • Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response are considered Key Workers. Please ensure you establish parents who identify themselves as a Key Worker are critical to the COVID-19 response and not just work within the sectors listed.

DfE Guidance: Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision

 

If only one parent of a two-parent household is a key worker, can the child still be provided continued care?

  • Children with at least one parent/carer who is identified as a key worker and are critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response can continue to access their place
  • However, it is important to reiterate that any child who can remain safely at home should do so.

 

Do we need to obtain evidence that a parent/carer is a keyworker?

  • If necessary, you can ask for simple evidence that a parent/carer is a critical worker, such as their work ID badge, payslip or a letter from their employer.

 

Is it compulsory for key workers to send their child to school?

  • The government’s view is that any child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
  • There is no requirement for Key Workers to send their child to school.

 

What should I do if I believe a parent is not a key worker or that a child can be cared for safely at home?

  • The government have reiterated the point that any child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
  • Schools can decide not to provide a place for a child where they are confident that a parent/carer does not meet the government definition of a key worker.
  • If disagreements cannot be resolved between yourself and the parents, please contact the Local Authority on provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk.

Can staff or children with serious underlying health conditions continue to attend?

  • No, the government strongly advise people with serious underlying health conditions, which puts them at a very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, to rigorously follow shielding measures to keep themselves safe.

 

Can children or staff who live with someone who has a serious underlying health condition continue to attend?

  • If a vulnerable child, a child of a key worker or a staff member lives with someone who is in a vulnerable health group, including those who are pregnant, they can continue to attend.
  • If a vulnerable child, a child of a key worker or a staff member lives with someone who is in the most vulnerable health group, should only attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and the child is able to understand and follow those instructions.
  • Schools should allow staff who live with someone in the most vulnerable health groups to work from home where possible.

DfE Guidance: Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

 

Safeguarding

Recording attendance

How do we record attendance/absence?

During this period, schools do not need to take an attendance register. For administrative purposes Code # (planned whole or partial closure) should be used.

Further information is available from DfE, Coronavirus (COVID-19): attendance recording for educational settings

 

What should we do if a child with a social worker (CIN/CP child) does not attend?

Follow the ‘procedure for recording school attendance’.

 

Is there any data on attendance?

DfE have provided a summary of how many children and teachers attended education settings between Monday 23 March and Friday 17 April 2020.

DfE Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): attendance in education and early years settings

Cancellation and deferral of data collections

To help reduce the burden on educational and care settings at this time, the Department for Education (DfE) and its agencies have cancelled or paused all but the most essential data collections, services and requests from educational and care settings until the end of June 2020.

DfE Guidance: Reducing burdens on educational and care settings

Social distancing

PPE and cleaning in schools

The following is taken from DfE Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings

 

Q: Do schools, colleges and childcare settings need personal protective equipment (PPE)?

The scientific advice indicates that educational staff do not require personal protective equipment. This is needed by medical and care professionals providing specific close contact care, or procedures that create airborne risk, such as suctioning and physiotherapy, for anyone who has coronavirus (COVID-19), and is displaying symptoms.

If you are not providing this care to someone with the virus, and displaying symptoms, PPE is not needed. Asymptomatic people (people with the virus but not displaying symptoms) have a reduced viral load and so risk of transmission is considerably reduced.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces. The advice for schools, colleges and childcare settings is to follow steps on social distancing, handwashing and other hygiene measures, and cleaning of surfaces.

Some children, and young people with special educational needs, may be unable to follow social distancing guidelines, or require personal care support. In these circumstances, staff need to increase their level of self-protection, such as minimising close contact (where appropriate), cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and carrying out more frequent handwashing.

We will shortly publish additional advice for settings caring for children and young people with complex needs.

Childcare practitioners do not need PPE. They should care for children as normal, although increasing the frequency of handwashing (and always doing so before and after, for example, feeding children or changing nappies) and cleaning of surfaces and toys. Soft toys should not be shared between children. If a child displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), they should not come to the setting, or should be sent home with their parents/carers if symptoms arise during the day. Staff should clean as normal after this.

Q: Will educational settings have enough cleaning equipment?

DfE has been working with public sector buying organisations, and with Crown Commercial Service, to understand and address supply chain issues relating to hygiene and cleaning products for state-funded provision. At this time, the supply chain has flagged that for some products there are reduced volume deliveries, and less frequent deliveries, which means some items may be rationed. They are seeking to find alternatives to any products which are out of stock. Should schools be short of cleaning product supplies, they should email DfE-CovidEnquiries.COMMERCIAL@education.gov.uk, providing details of the supplies they are short of, and where they have been trying to buy their supplies (for example, which supplier).

Q: What should educational settings do in terms of daily cleaning regimes?

We recommend that all educational settings follow the Public Health England (PHE) guidance on cleaning for non-healthcare settings.

Where healthcare, and certain personal care support, is delivered within settings (particularly special schools), then additional measures may apply: see PHE guidance.

Settings should clean and disinfect equipment, toys and surfaces more regularly. This includes keyboards, mouse, tables, chairs, door handles, light switches and bannisters.  

 

Q: Why is handwashing advised over hand sanitiser?

Soap and water, and regular handwashing for at least 20 seconds, is the best way of staying safe. Handwashing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available, or the situation makes using soap less feasible (for example, when outside), but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

 

Q: How often should staff, children and young people be washing their hands during the day?

Staff, children, young people and families should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently than normal, including on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing.

Staff should supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water (or hand sanitiser if soap is not available or feasible in the particular situation) and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues. Bins for tissues should be emptied throughout the day.

Consider how to encourage young children to learn and practise these habits through games, songs and repetition.

Some children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities may require additional support in following public health advice, or may find frequent handwashing distressing. Staff will know where this is likely to be the case, and how they can best support individual children and young people.

 

Q: Is it safe to wear jewellery?

Yes. It is fine to wear jewellery as normal, provided handwashing guidance is being followed.

 

Q: Does my educational setting need deep cleaning on an ongoing basis?

No. Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual, using your standard cleaning products.

Free School Meals

Local arrangements are being shared with schools where food parcels have been chosen as the method of offering free school meals.

DfE have also temporarily extended the free school meals eligibility to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF):

  • Children of Zambrano carers with a maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum
  • Children of families with NRPF with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights with a maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum
  • Children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to NRPF restriction with a maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum
  • Children of a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 with no household earnings threshold

DfE Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): temporary extension of free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups

Staffing

Should school staff with an underlying health condition stay at home?

DfE guidance on implementing social distancing measures in education and childcare settings sets out that staff with conditions that mean they are at increased risk of serious illness as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), such as those who are pregnant, should work from home where possible, and education and childcare settings should endeavour to support this.

 

Should staff with serious underlying health conditions, which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), stay at home and take shielding measures?

DfE are strongly advising people, including education staff, with serious underlying health conditions which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), such as solid organ transplant recipients, and people with specific cancers, to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. Staff in this position must not attend work. More advice on this can be found in the guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable.

 

Should staff who live with someone with a serious underlying health condition, who is taking shielding measures, stay at home?

If a member of staff lives with someone in a vulnerable health group, including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting. The number of social interactions in the education or childcare environment will be reduced, due to there being fewer children attending, and social distancing and good hand hygiene being practised.

If a member of staff lives in a household with someone who is in the most vulnerable health groups, as set out in the guidance on shielding, they should only attend work if stringent social distancing can be adhered to. Settings should allow staff who live with someone in the most vulnerable health groups to work from home where possible.

How do we manage staff absence or closures?

 

Who do we contact if we are experiencing staffing issues?

Contact Colin Stewart directly.

 

Should we continue with disciplinary, capability, sickness management and grievance processes?

Our advice is that you suspend the processes of disciplinary, capability, sickness management and grievance till further notice. However, our advice is that schools do not need to revoke any staff suspensions unless you feel you need that individual to be available to come in to work. You should write to staff concerned, through your HR provider to advise that the process is suspended and we would advise you to also inform the member of staff that if they are suspended from work they remain suspended from work

 

How can we support employee wellbeing?

Those with access to the Council’s Intranet can access a range of resources at http://intranet/home/human-resources/employee-wellbeing/.

 

What will happen with NQT recruitment?

With NQT recruitment for September 2020 likely to be impacted by the measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus, we will begin looking at options for virtual recruitment of NQT’s into Redbridge for the next academic year and will update you on our advice and suggestions for that in due course

 

Have DBS requirements changed?

The way DBS checks are carried out have changed as a result of social distancing guidelines. Please refer to the guidance on changes to DBS ID checking guidelines.

Where members of the school workforce are already engaging in regulated activity, and already have the appropriate DBS check, there is no expectation that a new DBS check should be obtained for them to temporarily move to another setting to support the care of children.

The type of setting on the DBS check for example, a specific category of school, is not a barrier. The receiving setting should risk assess as they would for a volunteer. See paragraphs 167 to 172 of keeping children safe in education (KCSIE).

Whilst the onus remains on schools to satisfy themselves that someone in their setting has had the required checks including, as required, those set out in part 3 of KCSIE, in the above scenario this can be achieved, if the receiving setting chooses to, via seeking assurance from the current employer rather than requiring new checks.

Remote education

Remote education resources for teachers

DfE have published an initial list of online educational resources covering various subjects and age groups that have been recommended by teachers and school leaders.

DfE Guidance: Remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

Safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus

Understand how to follow safeguarding procedures when planning remote education strategies and teaching remotely.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19

 

Get help with technology for remote education during coronavirus

The Department for Education is working in partnership with an industry coalition to provide technology to support remote education.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-technology-for-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19

 

Additional resources

Resources from The Sensory Project - http://www.thesensoryprojects.co.uk/covid19-resources

SEND specific resources from Tech Ability - https://www.techability.org.uk/resources/aiding-learning-from-home/

Early Years

If you offer school nursery places, please also review the guidance available for early years settings - https://find.redbridge.gov.uk/kb5/redbridge/fsd/advice.page?id=8vgxKiJ0pmo

Pupil assessment and exams

Primary assessments, including SATs, and exams including GCSEs, AS levels and A levels, will not go ahead this summer. The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards, will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams for GCSEs, AS and A levels have been cancelled this summer.

DfE Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020

The government will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for 2020.

DfE Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): school and college accountability

Announcement of closure of schools and settings

DSG budgets

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff, and meet their other regular financial commitments, as we move through these extraordinary times.

We will continue to fund early years provision. Although we are requesting early years headcounts to be completed by 6 June 2020, if your school is unable to do so you will not be penalised as a result. Please email provider.data@redbridge.gov.uk with any concerns.

School funding for exceptional costs

Schools may be able to claim for additional costs as a result of closures.

DfE Guidance: School funding: exceptional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) for the period March to July 2020

Service premium

How much service premium funding schools get, and details of which children attract the funding.

DfE Guidance: Service Pupil Premium (SPP): information for schools

Charges for traded services

During the pandemic, we will be suspending all the traded services to schools – so we won’t be charging for any of that. The exception will be the licences we need to block purchase for your schools such as Capita Sims. We will convert some of those previously traded services to be universal services until further notice. We will write to schools separately to confirm.

Support available for parents, carers, children and young people

Young Carer Support

If you're a young carer living in Redbridge supporting parents or family you may need some extra support during this time.

Click here for more details.

Reach Out

Reach Out is offering support for any adult in Redbridge who is being abused or at fear of being abused; for children who are unhappy or scared of what they are seeing or hearing at home; and advice and support for adults who are struggling to cope with their behaviour, which may be causing a family member to be harmed or afraid. 

Click here for details. 

Redbridge Wellbeing Service

The Redbridge Well-being service is to help and support people at greatest risk from coronavirus in the borough. This includes assistance with food, medication deliveries and signposting to support they might need to keep them safe and secure in their home or place of residence.

Click here for more details. 

Children’s Centres

Children's Centres are providing a range of activities for families up to 5 years to complete at home, as well as support through one to one conversations, virtual coffee mornings and more. 

Click here for more details.  

General information for parents and schools about schools and education

Information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).Help children aged 2 to 4 to learn at home during coronavirus (COVID-19).

DfE Guidance: What parents and carers need to know about schools and education during the coronavirus outbreak

 

Helping children continue their education during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Advice for parents and carers of children who have not yet started school. DfE Guidance: Help children aged 2 to 4 to learn at home during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Advice for parents and carers looking after primary school children. DfE Guidance: Help primary school children continue their education during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The BBC has launched an education package across TV and online, featuring celebrities and teachers, helping to keep children learning at home and supporting parents. Daily lessons are available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize

 

Supporting children with a learning disability or ASD at home

Advice including structure and routine, managing behaviour, occupational therapy, sleep routines and indoor activities and exercise.

https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/field/attachemnt/Supporting%20Children%20with%20LD%20%26%20ASD%20with%20COVID%20Isolation.pdf

Bereavement support

Information is available for families on bereavement support. Please visit https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-hub/

Back to top Powered by Open Objects © Open Objects Software Limited