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School re-opening (September 2020)

Plans for re-opening schools this September

The Government has published its plans for the full re-opening of schools this September. The Secretary of State Gavin Williamson said (in the Department for Education press release ), “I want to reassure parents and families that we are doing everything we can to make sure schools, nurseries, colleges and other providers are as safe as possible for children and staff, and will continue to work closely with the country’s best scientific and medical experts to ensure that is the case”.

To support the full re-opening, the Government has published the following pieces of guidance:

Key points from the schools guidance are:

  • It states, “We expect independent schools to follow the control measures set out in this document in the same way as state-funded schools”.
  • The guidance builds on the hierarchy of protective measures used during the pandemic, but adds that, “School leaders will be best placed to understand the needs of their schools and communities, and to make informed judgments about how to balance delivering a broad and balanced curriculum with the measures needed to manage risk”.
  • Bubbles in secondary school can be a whole year group, and a whole class in primary school
  • All teachers and other staff can operate across different classes and year groups in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable.
  • Staff should socially distance from other staff and pupils where possible – while accepting this is more practical at secondary level; children who are old enough should also social distance.
  • Local health protection teams will provide advice on who needs to self-isolate should a pupil or member of staff test positive for Covid 19 – with a focus on those who have been in close contact with the infected person
  • School attendance will be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term.
  • Schools are advised to, “Teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term, but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content”.
  • The expectation is that routine Ofsted and ISI inspections will restart from January 2021 – before then ISI may carry out some non-routine inspections based on individual circumstances

ISC Alert: Plan published for full reopening of schools and Ofqual launches consultation on 2021 exams - 2 July 2020