Updated guidance for education and childcare settings

We have updated our guidance to reflect the end of National Restrictions on 2 December and how early years providers and special schools and other specialist settings should operate under the local restriction tiers. There are no substantive changes for settings to act on.

For early years providers we have clarified the position under the local restriction tiers for:

·        managing safety in settings and staffing

·        30 hour entitlements

·        business support

For special schools and other specialist settings we have clarified the position under the local restriction tiers for:

·        transport

·        educational visits

·        music, dance and drama performances

·        physical activity in schools

·        school uniform

·        residential special settings

COVID Workforce fund announcement and Contingency framework for education and childcare settings

The Department for Education has announced a COVID workforce fund to support schools and colleges facing the greatest combined staffing and funding pressures. They will be able to claim via the new short-term COVID workforce fund, as part of the government’s national priority of keeping education settings open.

The fund will be backdated to 1 November and cover the current half term, with detailed guidance due to be published shortly. It is designed for schools and colleges facing significant funding pressure and will cover the costs of high levels of staff absences over a minimum threshold, to help ensure schools and colleges can remain open.

We have also today published an updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency framework for education and childcare settings. This guidance sets out how the Government would manage the exceptional circumstances in which further restrictions were required on education, to help contain virus transmission within a community. The framework is not a guide to operational management of education in local areas or individual education settings.

The government hopes never to have to implement the restrictions set out in the framework. Any implementation remains a decision for central government, working closely with local leaders, and would only come as a last resort to control extremely high prevalence of the virus if all other measures had been exhausted.

Lesson plans to support children who may have suffered abuse

The Home Office have collaborated with the PSHE Association, Barnardo’s and the NSPCC to create lesson plans for key stage 3, 4 and 5 students that focus on children’s rights to safety. These lesson plans help build awareness of the support services available to children and young people in England, who may have suffered harms, including sexual and physical abuse.

The plans, resources and accompanying teacher guidance are all available to download on the PSHE Association website.

Further information on the Home Office campaign ‘Something’s Not Right’ can be found on the campaign portal.

If you have any questions or would like any more information, please contact somethingsnotright@homeoffice.gov.uk

Operation Encompass Teachers’ Helpline

The founders of Operation Encompass, an information sharing and safeguarding initiative between the police and schools, have set up a Teachers’ Helpline to assist school staff in supporting children who may be experiencing domestic abuse.

Funded by the Home Office, this helpline is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 11am throughout term-time and will provide school staff with the opportunity to seek guidance information and support from educational psychologists.

Phone: 0204 513 9990
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, term-time, 8am to 11am

Further information and resources can be found on the Operation Encompass website.

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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