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Schools and Covid-19: guidance and resources
With Covid-19 continuing to impact on schools and pupils, find links to useful articles, resources and the latest government guidance
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- Consultations have been launched by Ofqual and the DfE on proposed arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A levels in summer 2022 (closes 1 August 2021), along with vocational and technical qualifications in academic year 2021-22 (closes 26 July 2021). Have your say!
- DfE announces a scheme to boost English and maths skills for pupils at the start of primary and secondary school education. Schools with high proportions of children from disadvantaged backgrounds will be prioritised for participation.
- From 19 July, schools move to Step 4. See the DfE operational guidance to explain the actions school leaders should take to reduce the risk of transmission. Step 4 includes removing the recommendation for bubbles and responsibility for contact tracing. However, risk assessments and outbreak management plans should be maintained.
- DfE confirms additional funding to support teacher induction: all state-funded schools who currently have an NQT due to complete induction this summer will receive a one-off payment for the equivalent of an additional 5% off timetable for next academic year. This time off timetable is not statutory; it has been designed to be used flexibly and can be grouped together in different ways, for example, taken as whole days or half days off.
For all the latest DfE documents relating to schools in England, see coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for schools and other educational settings
Recent or recently updated guidance includes the following:
- accountability procedures 2020-21
- actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak (operational guidance document)
- awarding qualifications in summer 2021
- education recovery support (summary of resources available to schools)
- operational guidance for special schools and specialist settings
- quality assurance processes for GCSE, AS and A level
- summer 2021 arrangements (JCQ guidance on administration of summer assessments, including appeals process)
- summer school funding.
Although most pupils are back in the classroom, some are still accessing learning from home. Experiences so far mean that we have a better understanding of what makes for effective remote learning.
Check out the following articles for ideas, along with Ofsted's guide to what's working well in remote education (which includes some helpful myth-busting) and the results of DfE's research into teachers' experiences of delivering remote education. Remember that all schools are required to publish information about their remote provision on the school website; this remote education template can be used.
- 10 tips for providing constructive feedback remotely
- DBS checks for remote or online learning
- Effective remote learning: six keys to success
- Homeschooling for children and young people with SEND needs
- How to develop a remote learning strategy for self-isolating pupils and staff
- Keeping pupils engaged and motivated remotely
- Remote learning: compliance and best practice
- Remote learning for pupils with SEND: five tips
- Risk assessment and consent for live streaming
Maintaining a consistent approach to curriculum planning is a particular challenge this year, with pupils in and out of school and uncertainty around exams. These articles and resources may be of use.
- Consolidating and reviewing learning: task setting and assessment
- Keeping pupils engaged and motivated (without exams)
- Planning for curriculum adjustments
- Planning SEND provision for 2020/21: five evidence-based recommendations
- Preparing to use your catch-up premium
- Rising strong pathway
See also the Education Endowment Foundation's School Planning Guide 2021, which aims to support school leaders in their decision-making. They propose a tiered model that focuses upon:
- high-quality teaching
- targeted academic support
- wider strategies.
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.
It's also a good time to revisit your communication strategies during remote working.
Supporting mental health and wellbeing of pupils and staff is a priority. Are you ready to spot the signs that pupils may be struggling? What are you doing to build resilience? And what are your strategies for supporting staff on their return to school?
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.
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:
Last Updated:21 Jul 2021