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Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for schools
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Note: this page is no longer being updated. For our latest advice for schools for the autumn term, see returning to school and Covid-19: guidance and resources.
During these anxious and challenging times, increasing pressure is being put on schools, particularly those that are still open for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.
As well as supporting the wellbeing of pupils, staff need to remember to look after themselves too. For advice on taking care of your mental health, take a look at our tips for staff during uncertain times and guide to adjusting to working from home.
Effective communication is key, especially during times of uncertainty. Use our template letter to structure your communication with parents/carers of children still attending school and explore what good communication looks like when staff and pupils are working remotely.
Note that new arrangements will be in place for admissions appeals; see our summary of the changes.
Supporting vulnerable learners requires careful planning and provision during the best of times. How can we ensure these pupils feel safe both in and outside of school?
Take a look at our advice on communication and support for vulnerable learners. Here you'll also find advice on supporting parents and links to social stories to help explain the situation for children with speech, language and communication needs. Of course many parents have suddenly found themselves in the role of teacher: share advice on homeschooling for children and young people with SEND needs.
Teachers in school may find themselves teaching pupils they don't know. Follow our tips on establishing relationships quickly with pupils you don’t usually teach.
For clarity around provisions being made for pupils with education, health and care plans, see our summary of temporary changes to legislation.
Are you reconsidering your transition arrangements? See our suggestions for supporting transition for pupils with SEND.
With the majority of pupils no longer attending school, most learning is now being done remotely.
What can teachers do to prepare and share materials effectively? Take a look at our guidance on remote learning for pupils for advice on using technology, streaming lessons and providing non-computer-based options. And what can you do to provide constructive feedback remotely?
School leaders: how do you decide what form of remote learning will work best for your school? Get advice from Hamish Mackenzie, founder of Digital Reslience UK, in remote learning: making the transition and consider risk assessment and consent for live streaming of lessons.
With schools providing care for vulnerable children and children of key workers, the DfE has advised that a COVID-19 annex to a child protection policy should be used to detail current safeguarding arrangements. Share the annex with staff and use our quiz to ensure they know what they need to do to keep pupils safe.
To ensure appropriate arrangements are in place for both children in school and those at home, use our COVID-19 safeguarding checklist. And DSLs: you're not alone and isolated. Check out our top tips and guidance from experts Dai Durbridge and Ella Savell-Boss.
Finally, for safer recruitment during COVID-19, use our example letter for confirmation from another school that, if they have staff attending your setting to work with pupils still attending school, relevant safeguarding checks have been carried out.
To support you further, we've made two of our CPD certified in-house training courses free to use.
- Understanding stress and how to manage it: this course helps you to recognise and reduce stress, giving you a new perspective on your work/life balance.
- Differentiation in practice: find out how to personalise and differentiate learning effectively, in ways that raise standards and close the achievement gap.
These courses can be accessed any time, any place – whether you’re still in school, or working from home.
The DfE's support and guidance can all be accessed from Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for schools and other educational settings. Listed below are some of individual pages you may wish to access.
- Actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020
- For remote learning, see remote education practice for schools during coronavirus (COVID-19)
- For suggestions for parents, see supporting your children's education during coronavirus (COVID-19).
- For advice on limiting the spread of coronavirus in schools, see the DfE’s guidance for educational settings.
- For information regarding the closure of schools, see the DfE's information for parents and carers.
- For guidance on maintaining educational provision, see the DfE's maintaining educational provision for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England.
- For guidance on early years settings and childminders, see the DfE's early years and childcare closures.
- For advice on supporting your most vulnerable pupils, see the DfE's guidance on vulnerable children and young people.
- For details about arrangements for exams which have been cancelled, see the DfE's details on exams and grades and GCSEs, AS and A level awarding. Ofqual have shared a summary guide to the arrangements for GCSE, AS and A level, which includes links to explanatory videos for teachers and students.
- For mental health guidance, see the DfE's guidance for parents/carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus.
The DfE have also set up a helpline offering guidance for anyone with education related questions. The helpline is open weekdays from 8am until 6pm and can be reached by calling 0800 046 8687.
- NHS Stay at home advice
- Daily updates from the World Health Organisation
- VWV: Coronavirus articles and blogs
- Browne Jacobson: Decision making resources for boards of academy trusts
- NAHT: Coronavirus guidance for school leaders
- NAHT: Joint union advice
- ASCL: Coronavirus FAQs
- Fit2communicate: Coronavirus is more than just a crisis
- GOV.UK: Advice to support mental health during the outbreak
- Child Bereavement UK
- Winston's Wish: advice and guidance on supporting bereaved children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak
Posters and leaflets
- NSPCC Speak out stay safe virtual assembly
- Handwashing steps using the WHO technique
- How to wash your hands NHS song
Lesson plans and activities
- Oak National Academy online classroom
- BBC bitesize daily lessons
- Hand hygiene company Evans Vanodine have free materials to help teach children about the importance of handwashing.
- Teaching Ideas provide free lesson plans and resources for pupils including the five steps to clean hands and understanding germs.
- The University of Southampton have a Germ Defence presentation with advice on how to avoid catching viruses.
- A fun activity to help encourage pupils (and staff!) to wash their hands properly is the Wash Your Lyrics website. This website allows users to enter the title of a song and artist to automatically generate a poster matching the lyrics to the 13-step handwashing routine.
- Campaign resources have a range of fun lesson plans on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.
The facebook group Amazing Educational Resources have shared a Google Docs link with a list of education companies and resources that are offering free memberships and services.