Returning to school and Covid-19: guidance and resources

The autumn term sees more pupils back in the classroom. How can schools best work towards recovery, reintegration and progress, whilst managing the ongoing risks the coronavirus presents?

DfE guidance

For all the latest DfE documents, see coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for schools and other educational settings

Guidance includes the following:

See also containing and managing local coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks.

Blended learning

Whether we’re calling it blended, hybrid or remote learning, the likelihood is that some pupils will still need to access learning from home at some point.

Experiences so far mean that we have a better understanding of what makes for effective remote learning. Check out the following articles for ideas.

Curriculum planning

Rather than diving headlong into closing academic gaps, pupils will probably need time and support to re-adjust and process the experience of the last months. Encourage teams to plan for curriculum adjustments.

Embark Federation have shared their rising strong pathway with us; our blog interview with Sharon Gray OBE reveals more of the thinking behind how they are creating a safe space for learning.

See also:


Setting a positive, supportive tone will be vital. Use our eight tips for senior leaders to prepare a consistent approach around key issues such as attendance, curriculum adjustments and staff engagement.

Keeping in touch with parents is even more important in difficult or challenging times. These five tips for communicating with parents and building trust include a downloadable template to help you coordinate messages.

Your self-evaluation framework (SEF) might look different this year. Use the SEF template, updated to reflect the disruption to schooling, to identify development priorities.

Mental health, wellbeing and resilience

Supporting mental health and wellbeing of pupils and staff is a priority for schools. Are you ready to spot the signs that pupils may be struggling?

Advisers on our Wellbeing Award for Schools have distilled their experiences with schools over recent months into an eight step downloadable framework for supporting emotional wellbeing during and after lockdown.

The video recording of David Beeney's workshop on managing the mental health of all provides useful guidance, for example a suggested process for line managers to follow when having a mental health conversation.

For pupils with SEMH needs the transition back into school could be particularly challenging. See our guidance on SEMH and the return to school.


Sadly, some members of your school community are likely to have experienced bereavement due to Covid-19. For a better understanding of how children and young people are likely to experience grief, see Zoe Dale’s article supporting bereaved pupils: advice for staff and the recorded workshop how to support pupils with bereavement.

You can find further resources at:

Risk management

Use the DfE planning frameworks and SAGE guidance to update your existing risk register and health and safety assessment with new considerations as they arise. For key questions and a process to follow, see our guidance on assessing risk: making your school safer.

Make sure you have an up to date business continuity plan in place. 

Do you have pupils with EHCPs? Download example risk assessments and get FAQs answered on ensuring the safe return of pupils with EHCPs.

BAMEed have published guidance for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff and their employers in school settings, which includes an example staff risk assessment tool. Download the document from the BAMEed resources section. You can also refer to the government's review of disparities in risks and outcomes.

The HSE’s risk management section includes useful guidance, resources and templates.

The team at Browne Jacobson LLP have shared some short videos:

  • health and safety musts
  • PPE in the classroom
  • communicate well and listen to your staff.
Last Updated: 
24 Nov 2020