Initial teacher training (ITT): criteria and supporting advice update

We have updated the guidance on initial teacher training (ITT): criteria and supporting advice. We have updated section C1.3: ‘Other background checks’ to include links to changes to checks for EU sanctions on EEA teachers and recruiting teachers from overseas.

Publishing remote education information for parents

The remote education expectations were updated in December to ask schools to publish on their website information for parents on their provision for remote education by 25 January. An optional template is available to help you provide this information.

Guidance for staff testing in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools

Primary schools (including school-based nurseries) should expect to receive an initial delivery of home testing kits. If you have not received your delivery by Wednesday 27 January, please complete this contact form. You will need the URN for your school to complete this form. We are planning to begin deliveries to maintained nursery schools from week commencing 1 February.

Primary schools will receive enough testing kits to allow staff to self-test at home twice weekly for 3.5 weeks. We will replenish stocks every 3 weeks.

Testing kits come in individual boxes of 7 and each staff member should receive one of these boxes. There will be 54 boxes of 7 (378 tests in total) in each large carton. New instructions for use will arrive in a separate package.

We have published guidance for testing primary, school-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff to support you with this. Further information, guidance and resources to support rapid testing are available on the primary schools document sharing platform. Home testing of staff in primary schools (including school-based nurseries) can begin from week commencing Monday 25 January, once schools have received and distributed kits to staff.

Twice weekly testing for staff in secondary schools and colleges

Rapid testing remains a vital part of our plan to suppress this virus. The use of rapid lateral flow tests is already proving beneficial in finding people with coronavirus (COVID-19) before they develop symptoms. We are therefore encouraging schools and colleges to increase regular testing of staff to twice weekly as further reassurance and to break chains of transmission during this period. Our guidance for secondary schools and colleges will be updated shortly to reflect this.

Secondary schools and colleges are only expected to test pupils and students twice upon their return to school or college.

The information below has not changed since our last update

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline – opening hours

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.

Please select option 1 or 2 if you require specific advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting. This option will take you through to a dedicated team of NHS Business Services Authority advisors who will work through a risk assessment with you to identify close contacts and will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice.

Please select option 3 or 4 for any other questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm

Look up your unique organisation number (UON)

If you have not received your unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits you can can look it up using your unique reference number (URN) or your UK provider reference number (UKPRN) or by calling the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.

Department for Education guidance

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below:

·        Guidance for early years and childcare providers

·        Guidance for schools

·        Guidance for further and higher education providers

·        Guidance for local authority children’s services

·        Guidance for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings

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