Covid - 19
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"When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back."
- Paulo Coelho
I am sure this is how many of us have felt since the start of the pandemic. So many challenges have been thrown at us all, in such quick succession that it is remarkable how well so many have coped. This includes our school community. Parents, pupils, staff and Trustee’s have had to make rapid and wide reaching adjustments to keep safe and to maintain the progress of the children that we serve. I am in awe of you all, as this has been such a huge challenge which has created increased levels of anxiety, concern and trepidation but also great determination, adaptability, passion and selflessness. You continue to amaze me every day! Please use this area of our website to see information that relates to this topic. You may want to check our risk assessment, our ‘normal operating procedures’, the letters that have been shared or other information. Just like all schools, we have gone through phases of change according to the way that situation has evolved. However, our core theme of ‘do no harm’ has been used to question and check our approach at frequent intervals. Our core approach so far has relied upon: Revised daily routine protocols for staff and pupils (hand washing, entry/exit, movement etc) Enhanced cleaning on a day to day basis and when potential outbreak occurs Revised approaches to the environment-revamped classrooms, directions of travel, reducing contact points etc Being ready for a case of Covid 19 with staff or pupils Increased levels of communication, intervention and support for all parties where appropriate Communication is such an essential part of our day to day life but is even more important when faced with such a different. if you have any questions, concerns or just need to talk through some issues in connection to school and Covid 19, then please email or call us. Please note that we will be conducting some online sessions for parents in the near future. Thank you for your continued support and understanding and we will come through this difficult situation.
Please click here for our C19 information
REMOTE EDUCATION PROVISION: INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
This information is intended to provide clarity and transparency to pupils and parents or carers about what to expect from remote education where national or local restrictions require entire cohorts (or bubbles) to remain at home.
As noted in this morning’s training, the very late changes made by Government on Friday were not helpful or well timed. However, it is important that you are aware of advice as we are currently following this. I have cut/pasted edited highlights, which should be read alongside our risk assessment and the day to day guidance provided by Pierre.
Isolation procedures related to a suspected or known case of Covid:
Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school
Ensuring that pupils, staff and other adults do not come into the school if they have coronavirus
(COVID-19) symptoms (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works#people-who-develop symptoms-of-coronavirus) or have tested positive in at least the last 10 days and ensuring anyone developing those symptoms during the school day is sent home, are essential actions to reduce the risk in schools and further drive down transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
All schools must follow this process and ensure all staff are aware of it.
If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new and persistent cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must be sent home and advised to follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance), which sets out that they should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a test
(https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested) to see if they have coronavirus (COVID19).
If they have tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develop symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day they develop symptoms.
Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.
If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age and needs of the child, with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
(This is the space in Cub, as shared with you today and highlighted in the risk assessment)
If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom must be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else. (The toilet in Cub is the designated toilet for this situation. Both areas, once pupils has gone would be cleaned/closed off until cleaned)
PPE must be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs). More information on PPE use can be found in the safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
If you have Covid, you must isolate for 10 days
If someone in your household (direct household only) has Covid you have to isolate for 14 days.
The government is not recommending universal use of face coverings in all schools. Schools that teach children in years 7 and above and which are not under specific local restriction measures will have the discretion to require face coverings for pupils, staff and visitors in areas outside the classroom where social distancing cannot easily be maintained, such as corridors and communal areas and it has been deemed appropriate in those circumstances. Primary school children will not need to wear a face covering.
In particular, schools that teach years 7 and above may decide to recommend the wearing of face coverings for pupils, staff or visitors in communal areas outside the classroom where the layout of the schools makes it difficult to maintain social distancing when staff and pupils are moving around the premises, for example, corridors.
In primary schools where social distancing is not possible in areas outside of classrooms between members of staff or visitors, for example in staffrooms, headteachers will have the discretion to decide whether to ask staff or visitors to wear, or agree to them wearing face coverings in these circumstances.
Based on current evidence and the measures that schools are already putting in place, such as the system of controls and consistent bubbles, face coverings will not be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible. Face coverings would have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should be avoided.
In areas where local lockdowns or restrictions are in place, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils (in years 7 and above) in areas outside classrooms when moving around communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain such as corridors.
In the event of new local restrictions being imposed, schools will need to communicate quickly and clearly to staff, parents, pupils that the new arrangements require the use of face coverings in certain circumstances.
Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This applies to those who:
It is reasonable to assume that staff and young people will now have access to face coverings due to their increasing use in wider society, and Public Health England has made available resources on how to make a simple face covering.
However, where anybody is struggling to access a face covering, or where they are unable to use their face covering due to having forgotten it or it having become soiled or unsafe, education settings should take steps to have a small contingency supply available to meet such needs.
No-one should be excluded from education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.
Advice is currently that secondary pupils/staff use coverings when moving around the building but this is not compulsory unless in a local/national lock down scenario
However, advice on this topic is changing like the leadership at Ofqual! This is a clear area that we need to decide what is best for us and our community, as time goes by.
Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible Minimising contacts and mixing between people reduces transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is important in all contexts and schools must consider how to implement this. Schools must do everything possible to minimise contacts and mixing while delivering a broad and balanced curriculum.
The overarching principle to apply is reducing the number of contacts between children and staff. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate (in ‘bubbles’) and through maintaining the distance between individuals. These are not alternative options and both measures will help, but the balance between them will change depending on:
The feasibility of keeping distinct groups separate while offering a broad curriculum (especially at secondary)
It is likely that for younger children the emphasis will be on separating groups and for older children, it will be on distancing. For children old enough, they should also be supported to maintain distance and not touch staff where possible.
Maintaining a distance between people whilst inside and reducing the amount of time they are in face to face contact lowers the risk of transmission. It is strong public health advice that staff in secondary schools maintain distance from their pupils, staying at the front of the class, and away from their colleagues where possible. Ideally, adults should maintain 2 metre distance from each other, and from children. We know that this is not always possible, particularly when working with younger children, but if adults can do this when circumstances allow that will help.
We are maintaining classroom groups where we can and reducing movement. However, we do not control transport and this will add a further layer of complication. Pupils should all be wearing face coverings whilst travelling in a taxi.
Classrooms have been remodelled and you have been asked to work at the front. You can support by quickly moving in/out to a pupil and being alongside then but not face to face with them. As a classroom team you will need to help each other with development of good practice here.
We are still encouraging social distance between adults and children wherever possible
If you or a pupil, or a member of your family develops symptoms then you must get tested ASAP. This can be done by:
If someone tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating.
If someone tests positive, they should follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid19-stay-at-home-guidance) and must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 10-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days.
If you feel ill, with what may be symptoms then get tested and do not come to work until you have been tested and know the result. Many of us have always come into school, whilst feeling under the weather. We can no longer continue to do this without getting tested.
The same applies to pupils and this may cause some increased tension with some parents. However, our processes must be followed to help avoid a large outbreak within the school and our communities.
If you have Covid you must isolate for 10 days
If a family member of someone who has had close contact for a period of time is tested positive then you will need to isolate for 14 days.
The DFE define close contact as:
Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the child, young person or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms. If someone in a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period they should follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection
(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance). They should get a test, and:
Schools should not request evidence of negative test results or other medical evidence before admitting children or welcoming them back after a period of self-isolation.
If schools have two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, they may have an outbreak and must continue to work with their local health protection team who will be able to advise if additional action is required.
In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole site or year group. If schools are implementing controls from this list, addressing the risks they have identified and therefore reducing transmission risks, whole school closure based on cases within the school will not generally be necessary, and should not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.
In consultation with the local Director of Public Health, where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school if necessary, in line with routine public health outbreak control practice.
We are likely to see an increased number of staff who will have to access testing at different times, for us to be sure they do not have Covid
Pupils have access to this but we now that many will struggle with the process/ external staff and the intrusive nature of the test.
It is highly likely to cause issues with attendance and being able to operate normally, if we see an increase in infection rate, as I suspect we will.
From the autumn term, local authorities will not be required to uniformly apply the social distancing guidelines for public transport, on dedicated school or college transport. However, distancing should still be put in place within vehicles wherever possible. This will help to both minimise disease transmission risks and maintain consistent reinforcement of public health messaging to children and staff, particularly at the point where they are leaving school and heading back into the community each day.
The approach to dedicated transport should align wherever possible with the principles underpinning the system of controls set out in this document and with the approach being adopted for your school. It is important, wherever it is possible, that:
Social distancing should be maximised within vehicles
Children either sit with their ‘bubble’ on school transport, or with the same constant group of children each day
Children should clean their hands before boarding transport and again on disembarking additional cleaning of vehicles is put in place organised queueing and boarding is put in place
Through ventilation of fresh air (from outside the vehicle) is maximised, particularly through opening windows and ceiling vents
Taxi providers have been great so far, but with lower numbers. This could be a huge headache for all concerned and we will monitor this closely.
Where a class, group or a small number of pupils need to self-isolate, or local restrictions require pupils to remain at home, we expect schools to have the capacity to offer immediate remote education. Schools are expected to consider how to continue to improve the quality of their existing curriculum, for example through technology, and have a strong contingency plan in place for remote education provision by the end of September. This planning will be particularly important to support a scenario in which the logistical challenges of remote provision are greatest, for example where large numbers of pupils are required to remain at home.
In developing these contingency plans, we expect schools to:
When teaching pupils remotely, we expect schools to:
For secondary schools teaching pupils remotely in a rota system because of tier 2 local restrictions, modified remote education expectations apply. These can be found in how schools can plan for tier 2 local restriction.
We expect schools to consider these expectations in relation to the pupils’ age, stage of development or special educational needs, for example where this would place significant demands on parents’ help or support. We expect schools to avoid an over-reliance on long-term projects or internet research activities.
We have now published a temporary continuity direction which makes it clear that schools have a duty to provide remote education for state-funded, school-age children unable to attend school due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This will come into effect from 22 October 2020. The direction poses no additional expectations on the quality of remote education expected of schools beyond those set out in this guidance.
For pupils with SEND, their teachers are best-placed to know how the pupil’s needs can be most effectively met to ensure they continue to make progress even if they are not able to be in school due to self-isolating. The requirement for schools to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the pupils’ special educational needs remains in place.
Schools should work collaboratively with families, putting in place reasonable adjustments as necessary, so that pupils with SEND can successfully access remote education alongside their peers.
Where a pupil has provision specified within their EHC plan, it remains the duty of the local authority and any health bodies to secure or arrange the delivery of this in the setting that the plan names. However, there may be times when it becomes very difficult to do so, for example, if they are self-isolating. In this situation, decisions on how provision can be delivered should be informed by relevant considerations including, for example, the types of services that the pupil can access remotely, for example, online teaching and remote sessions with different types of therapists. These decisions should be considered on a case by case basis, avoiding a one size fits all approach.
Where individuals who are self-isolating are within our definition of vulnerable, it is important that schools put systems in place to keep in contact with them.
When a vulnerable child is asked to self-isolate, schools should notify their social worker (if they have one). School leaders should then agree with the social worker the best way to maintain contact and offer support to the vulnerable child or young person.
Schools should also have in place procedures to check if a vulnerable child is able to access remote education support, to support them to access it (as far as possible) and to regularly check if they are doing so.
Keeping children safe online is essential. The statutory guidance keeping children safe in education provides schools and colleges with information on what they should be doing to protect their pupils online.
Support on delivering online remote education safely is available from:
Read how you can get help with remote education for links to a range of support for schools.
This support has been co-designed with schools and will include a range of school-led webinars and resources intended to share good practice. This is in addition to the video lessons offered by the sector-led Oak National Academy and other providers of quality education resources.
Available support includes peer-to-peer advice and training through the EdTech Demonstrator programme, as well as guidance on how schools can order devices and get help with technology for remote education.
As the Prime Minister confirmed in his announcement on 23 June, providers who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children can operate over the summer holiday, subject to the science and with safety measures in place. Adjustments to the current measures for these providers will be part of Step 3 of the recovery strategy (from 4 July).
We recognise the important role out-of-school settings (OOSS) play in providing enriching activities, giving children the opportunity to socialise with others outside their household and promoting their wellbeing. We also recognise the importance of these settings in providing additional childcare options to parents and carers, particularly those with younger children, who may need to return to or continue to work during the school holidays.
We are aware many providers are already considering what protective measures to put in place to allow them to reopen more widely and as safely as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This document sets out guidance to support their planning and advises on practical steps they can take to minimise the risk to children, staff and parents who attend their settings by reducing the risk of infection and transmission of the virus.
The scientific evidence suggests that there is a moderate to high degree of confidence that the susceptibility to clinical disease of younger children (up to age 11 to 13) is lower than for adults. However, it remains important that protective measures as outlined in this guidance are put in place to help reduce the risk of transmission.
For older children, there is not enough evidence yet to determine whether susceptibility to clinical disease is different to adults. Children and young people aged over 13 are still able to use out-of-school settings, but where older children are likely to attend, providers should still consider how to minimise any risk of infection and transmission of the virus. Providers should manage this risk by putting in place the protective measures as outlined in this guidance, for example, encouraging all children attending their setting to walk or cycle to the setting or get dropped off by a member of their household in a private vehicle rather than taking public transport.
We are seeking to amend the current Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, to enable providers to be able to open for both outside and indoor provision from 4 July, provided that they follow the protective measures set out by government, such as those outlined in this guidance.
Providers of out-of-school and holiday activities operate from a range of premises including schools and other regulated educational institutions, by arrangement with the proprietors of those institutions, and other community premises such as village halls, by arrangement with the owners or managers of those premises. We want to ensure, with this change, that all providers are able to open in:
Providers who open should implement this guidance from the end of summer term, when state schools in their local area have closed. Until then, while schools are open in a provider’s local area, they should follow the same protective measures as schools to limit different groups of children mixing. This means that if a setting opens before the end of the 2020 summer term, they should ensure they are:
This guidance is for organisations or individuals who provide community activities, tuition, holiday clubs or after-school clubs for children, as well as their staff and volunteers. This guidance will be relevant for those providers which fall within the government’s definition of an out-of-school setting (OOSS), as well as those providers caring for children over the age of 5 and registered with Ofsted on either the compulsory or voluntary childcare register. Providers caring for children under the age of 5 should refer to the guidance for Early Years and Childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
OOSS are organisations or individuals that provide tuition, training, instruction, or activities to children in England without their parents’ or carers’ supervision, but are not:
OOSS generally provide tuition, training, instruction or activities outside normal school hours (such as evenings, weekends, school holidays), although some OOSS are run part-time during school hours to help meet the needs of those who are typically educated at home. OOSS should not, however, be operating full-time (preventing a child attending a lawfully operating school). They may, for example, include tuition or learning centres, extracurricular clubs, supplementary schools, uniformed youth organisations, religious settings offering instruction in their own faith, and summer clubs. OOSS can occur in many kinds of venue, from a person’s home to much larger and more formal places such as community and youth centres, sports clubs, and places of worship. Fees may or may not be charged, and some settings may operate on a commercial basis.
It is important that providers understand and follow current government guidelines on protective measures to prevent the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). Specific protective measures guidance has been released for different types of premises, for example places of worship and outdoor spaces. This guidance signposts to these, and more than one may be applicable to your provision. It is also important to note that some premises may only be able to open for certain limited purposes. You should check the latest government guidelines on which businesses and venues can open and for which purposes. Providers operating out of these premises should work with all the relevant parties (for example, the owner or voluntary management committee) to identify, agree on and distribute responsibility for protective measures to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). See Carrying out a risk assessment for more information.
Parents (including guardians and foster carers) who have chosen to home educate their own child are not OOSS providers for the purpose of this guidance. Any group activities undertaken by home educators involving their own children but taking place outside of their own household should be carried out in line with current government guidance, such as Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) in other people’s homes.
There are important actions that providers should take during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, to help prevent the transmission of the virus. Before restarting your provision, it is important that you carry out or refresh your existing risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance, identifying protective measures (such as those listed in the guidance on Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)).
Where premises may have been closed for several weeks, there are increased risks related to safety concerns around water hygiene as well as building and occupancy safety. You should ensure that all health and safety compliance checks have been undertaken before opening by checking with the owner of the premises. If you are the owner of the premises which you operate your provision out of, you may find it useful to refer to the guidance on Managing school premises during the coronavirus outbreak, which outlines the type of checks you should undertake before reopening.
In most cases, risk assessments and preparation for reopening of OOSS should be carried out by a senior member of staff. However, you should also work with other relevant parties when carrying out your risk assessment, such as your staff members, the owner of the premises where your provision is being held (for example, if renting a school hall or community hall, the owners or voluntary management committee) and/or your local authority, to identify the risks, to determine protective measures to put in place and to establish who is responsible for implementing each protective measure.
We also strongly recommend that all OOSS providers consult advice set out by the Health and Safety Executive on coronavirus (COVID-19), including:
If you have fewer than 5 employees or volunteers, you do not have to write down your health and safety policy, but it might help if you do. You should share any significant findings of the risk assessment with your staff and on your website if you have one. You should, as a minimum, be able to explain to parents and carers the reasonable steps you have taken to reduce the health and safety risks in your setting, and outline the protective measures you have in place. Where parents and carers will also need to be aware of protective measures that have been put in place by the owner of the premises that you are operating your provision out of, for example, you should outline these to them or direct them to the relevant website.
OOSS will have different risks depending on the type of activity or provision they offer. If your provision is classroom-based, you should find the Department for Education’s Planning guide for primary schools or Guidance for secondary school provision helpful in determining how to carry out a risk assessment, depending on the age of the children you cater for.
If your setting operates outdoors, you should also refer to DCMS’s Guidance on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation.
If you normally offer provision in your own home or another home, for example if you are a private tutor, you should refer to the government guidance on Working safely during coronavirus in other people’s homes. You should still continue to work from home wherever services can be provided this way and you should minimise switching between work environments wherever possible.
Decisions on group sizes for your setting should be based on:
However, to reduce the risk of transmission, children and young people who attend your setting should be kept in small, consistent groups, and of no more than fifteen children and at least one staff member. If possible, those attending out-of-school settings should practise social distancing in line with the government’s current guidance. As the risk of transmission is considerably lower outdoors, providers who normally run sessions indoors should consider whether they are able to do so safely outside on their premises.
This means that at the first session children should be assigned to a particular class or group and should then stay in those consistent groups for future sessions and avoid mixing with other groups in your setting. Parents and carers should also be encouraged to limit the number of settings their child attends, ideally ensuring their child only attends the same setting consistently. Dependent on the factors listed above, you may need to have groups of less than 15 children.
If you are operating provision for multiple small groups of children throughout the day, you should allow sufficient changeover time between different classes to allow for cleaning to take place and to prevent children and parents or carers waiting in large groups.
You should not offer overnight or residential provision to children for the time-being.
If you are unable to keep children in your setting in small consistent groups for future sessions, you should only operate your provision outside and follow the government guidelines on the Phased return of sport and recreation in England, which allow up to six people from different households to meet outdoors. In doing so, providers should ensure, as far as possible, children practise social distancing in line with the government’s current guidance and that they keep children in groups of no more than 6, including staff members.
Many out-of-school settings operate in places that are normally open to members of the public, such as community and youth centres and places of worship. Therefore, as well as keeping children in small, consistent groups and ensuring that, as far as possible, the children, parents and staff that attend your setting follow the current government guidelines on social distancing, you should ensure that you have effective infection protection and control measures in place in your specific setting to reduce the risk of transmission.
These can be seen as a hierarchy of controls that, when implemented, creates an inherently safer system, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. These include:
Where possible all spaces should also be well ventilated using natural ventilation (opening windows) or ventilation units.
Providers should note that there may be an additional risk of infection in environments where you or others are singing, chanting, shouting, or conversing loudly. This applies even if others are at a distance to you. You should consider this added risk in environments that require children or adults to raise their voice to communicate with anyone outside their household and consider how to reduce the risk by avoiding particular activities in your setting, such as group singing activities for example. Further, more detailed DfE guidance on music and singing for September onwards will be published shortly.
As the risk of transmission is considerably lower outdoors, providers who normally run sessions indoors should consider whether they are able to do so safely outside.
However, where this may not be possible, providers who offer classroom-based provision should refer to the guidance for schools for more advice on practical steps that can be taken to implement the control measures outlined above, such as ensuring desks are spaced as far apart as possible.
If you operate your OOSS in a shared space such as a community centre, you should discuss infection protection and control measures with the owner of the space. For instance, you should discuss with the owner what measures are in place to clean the space between different groups of people using it and be clear on who is responsible for taking action if, for example, the timetable changes to more groups using the setting more frequently or government advice on cleaning changes.
The owners of these shared spaces must continue to meet all existing health and safety obligations with regard to ensuring that their premises are safe for providers to hire and to operate from. It is also the responsibility of the OOSS providers that operate from these shared spaces to ensure that they are implementing the protective measures as set out in this guidance.
Even though the risk of transmission is considered to be lower outdoors, it is still important that providers who offer outdoor activities for children put in place the hierarchy of controls outlined above. The guidance for providers of outdoor facilities on the phased return of sport and recreation advises on specific protective measures that should be put in place to run safer outdoor provision during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including:
If you typically run provision in other people’s homes - for example if you are a private tutor - you may find it helpful refer to the guidance on working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) in other people’s homes. We acknowledge that this is a complex environment, however you should still as far as possible implement protective measures including:
If you run provision out of your own home, you should also consider whether a specific, well-ventilated room could be designated for this.
It is not necessary for each class or group to use a separate toilet. However, you should consider how you can limit the number of children using the toilet at any one time and, where possible, you should avoid different groups using the same facilities at the same time. Importantly, you should promote good hand hygiene and encourage all children to wash their hands thoroughly, with soap and running water for 20 seconds, after using toilet facilities.
As with all frequently used surfaces, toilets should be cleaned thoroughly using standard products such as detergent and bleach. The frequency of cleaning required will depend on usage but is advised to be more frequently than might have been previously considered appropriate. In most cases we expect cleaning of toilet facilities to take place at least twice a day, and in particular between use by different classes and groups.
Please see COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance for advice on cleaning facilities when they have been used by someone suspected of having coronavirus (COVID-19).
As part of your risk assessment, you should consider appropriate staff: child ratios for your setting. You should have no more than 15 children per small consistent group and should have at least one staff member per group, though dependent on the circumstances of your provision you may need to have groups of less than 15 children. More detail on group sizes is outlined in the section “Considering group sizes”.
Before deciding on whether to open your setting, you should consult your staff members to ensure that they are available to work.
Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, including OOSS staff, should follow the latest government advice on shielding to keep themselves safe. From Saturday 1 August the guidance will be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield. Those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be advised to return to work as long as their workplace is coronavirus (COVID-19) secure. Read COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable for more information.
Clinically vulnerable individuals may also be at higher risk of severe illness (for example, people with some pre-existing conditions as set out in the Staying at home and away from others (social distancing guidance) have been advised to take extra care in observing social distancing. If any clinically vulnerable individuals, including those that are clinically extremely vulnerable, cannot work from home, they should be offered an individual discussion with their manager to ensure the safest available on-site roles.
When working out staff ratios you should consider how many staff you have available to work in your setting, as well as:
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you should find a solution to this before going further. If you are seeking a suitable person to temporarily cover these roles, it is important that you carry out the appropriate pre-employment checks to assess their suitability to work with children before allowing them to take up their post, such as taking up references and the appropriate level of criminal records checks (Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks), including a ‘children’s barred list’ check where relevant for the role.
In terms of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, a person is engaging in regulated activity if they frequently teach, train, instruct, supervise, or care for children. If an individual is barred by the DBS, but is engaging in this activity, including in out-of-school settings, they would be committing a criminal offence.
An unsupervised person undertaking these activities on a regular basis would also be eligible for an enhanced DBS check with barred list information, as part of this process. To understand which kind of check is right for your staff, DBS provides an eligibility tool which tells you which roles or activities could be eligible for a basic, standard or enhanced DBS check.
You should ensure that new staff members and volunteers understand and implement the protective measures you have identified while carrying out a risk assessment to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), such as those outlined in the section “Effective Infection Protection and Control”.
If your setting opens before the end of the 2020 summer term, while schools are still open in your local area, you should ensure that you are:
When state schools in your local area have closed for the summer term, children of all ages may attend out-of-school settings. However, as mentioned above you should be aware of additional risks that may relate to older children, such as use of public transport and mixing outside of settings. You should consider this as part of your risk assessment.
Attending OOSS can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of children and young people. However, it is crucial that we ensure we are minimising the risks to the nation’s health. It is for this reason that parents and carers are being encouraged to limit the number of settings their children attend as far as possible, and ideally to ensure their children attend the same setting consistently.
Providers are encouraged to consider measures they can put in place to reduce the extent to which children are mixing with others, by ensuring that children who attend your setting are assigned to a particular class or group when they return and stay in those consistent groups for future sessions. You should also discourage attendance from children who live outside the local area. Ideally, children who attend your setting should live within walking or cycling distance.
As education settings welcome back more of their pupils, children in the priority groups (i.e. vulnerable children and the children of critical workers) and eligible groups (i.e. early years, reception, years 1 and 6) are being encouraged to resume full-time attendance at their usual school or early years setting. OOSS should not be used as a replacement for school or early years attendance.
Additionally, parents and carers of children who are clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable or live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable should refer to current Public Health England’s Guidance on Shielding and Protecting People who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable from COVID-19.
The majority of staff in OOSS will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases:
The Department for Education has published guidance on Safe Working in Education, Childcare and Children’s Social Care Settings, including the use of Personal Protective Equipment which may be helpful for OOSS providers to refer to in order to understand when PPE should be used.
Providers should use their local supply chains to obtain the very limited amounts of PPE required. Providers may also be able to source PPE and cleaning products through The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) ‘Safer Working Supplies’ Portal. We have assurance that the suppliers and products listed on this portal have met standards set out by DHSC and that this route does not detract any supply from medical settings. In addition, Public Sector Buying Organisations (PSBOs) have pre-existing experience and relationships across our sector. Some of these organisations have e-catalogues offering PPE and cleaning products, including: ESPO, YPO, and NEPO.
The NHS Test and Trace service will help to manage the risk of the virus re-emerging as restrictions on everyday life are eased, as far as it is deemed safe to do so. The service:
It is vital that OOSS providers play their part by:
More information on NHS Test and Trace for workplaces can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance.
If anyone in your setting becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (amnesia), they should be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection guidance. For more information, see the section below on what happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a setting.
If a child is awaiting collection indoors, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age of the child and with appropriate adult supervision. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them or you offer provision outside, you should move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products and following the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance before being used by anyone else.
PPE should be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs).
In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
If a member of staff has helped someone with symptoms, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves (and in which case, a test is available) or the child subsequently tests positive (see ‘What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a setting?’ below). They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell. Cleaning the affected area of the setting with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.
When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus (COVID-19), they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days and arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus COVID-19. They can do this by visiting NHS.UK to arrange or contact NHS 119 via telephone if they do not have Internet access. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days.
Where the child, young person, or staff member tests negative, they can return to the setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
If the child, young person, or staff member tests negative but is unwell, they should not return to that setting until they are recovered.
Where the child, young person, or staff member tests positive, NHS Test and Trace will speak directly to those they have been in contact with to offer advice. This advice may be that the rest of their class or group within the setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days.
As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the class or group or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases, a larger number of other children and young people may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, group, or site. Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.
You should familiarise yourself with the government guidance on working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) and ensure that you have put in place measures to create a safe environment for the staff and children attending your OOSS, based on the five principles below:
Before reopening your provision, you should talk to staff about your plans and safety measures, including discussing whether training would be helpful.
If you employ cleaning contractors or staff then you should communicate additional cleaning requirements and agree additional hours to allow for this.
Arrange regular opportunities to get feedback from staff on the new arrangements.
The Department for Education’s planning guidance for primary schools includes information on principles for staff that you may also be able to apply to your own setting, and will be especially relevant if you offer classroom-based provision.
You should communicate your plans for reopening your provision to parents, including new safety measures that you have put in place to reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the virus.
Consider the following steps:
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may have caused significant mental health or wellbeing difficulties for some children and they may be at increased risk of harm or abuse. Due to the current circumstances, vulnerable children may be particularly isolated, meaning that the family, community and professional networks they usually rely on may be unavailable or hard to access. Therefore, it is important that you and your staff are aware of the safeguarding issues that can put children at risk, such as abuse and neglect, and the signs to look out for.
Signs to look out for which may suggest that a child is being harmed or is at risk of harm include:
If safeguarding issues come to light, they should be addressed using your setting’s child protection and safeguarding policy, which you should consider updating ahead of reopening your setting.
If you have one or more employees or volunteers in your setting, then it is important to write down your child protection procedures to ensure that all staff members understand their responsibilities and know what to do in the event of a safeguarding concern, including what to do if a child makes a disclosure to you or your staff.
These should include details of your designated safeguarding lead (DSL) and deputy DSL (if you choose to have one), and how to contact them, as well as contact details for local safeguarding services such as local authority children’s social care, the local authority designated officer (LADO) and the police.
In addition, you may want to include details of Barnardo’s recently launched See, Hear, Respond Service, which is a programme created to help children and young people in England who are experiencing harm and increased adversity during lockdown by providing support to those who are not being seen by schools or other key agencies.
You should review whether you or your staff need to refresh or undertake additional training on child protection and safeguarding issues before reopening your setting.
It will be especially important for providers to ensure that:
It is important to recognise that you and your staff may also need to consider how to support:
Some children may also have experienced bereavements in their immediate family or wider circle of friends or family or had increased or new caring responsibilities.
As part of your provision, you may wish to provide:
As a provider of services to children and young people, it is important that you ensure you create spaces, services and opportunities that enable everyone to engage equally.
This may require adjustments to your working practices and approaches to ensure that everyone benefits fairly. Your organisation’s equality and diversity policy should be considered at all times and especially when making decisions and judgements related to the impact on individuals and groups with protected characteristics.
When applying this guidance, organisations should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers and individuals. Providers should be aware that some parents and carers may look to holiday clubs and out-of-school settings to offer respite childcare during the summer for children with special educational needs or with an education, health and care plan (EHCP).
Providers are permitted to open for disabled children 5 who are accessing these services as a local authority funded short break, and ensuring that provision is available and accessible to these children, as far as possible, should be remain a priority in these current circumstances.
Local Authorities will need to work with their short breaks provider base to explore maximum flexibility in delivery to enable children to attend services (and to ensure that these can operate during the summer holidays in particular, given this can be a key pressure point for families with caring responsibilities); for example, some local authorities have made more use of direct payments beyond their usual criteria.
It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone in employment and the provision of services because of a protected characteristic, such as age, sex, race or disability.
Employers and organisations (voluntary or otherwise) also have additional responsibilities towards disabled individuals and those who are new or expectant mothers.
There is emerging evidence that BAME individuals may be more severely affected than the general population by coronavirus (COVID-19). Providers should be especially sensitive to the needs and worries of BAME children and young people, parents and carers, and staff, and should consider if any additional measures or reasonable adjustments may need to be put in place to mitigate risk.
This guidance is for parents and carers and covers changes to after-school clubs, holiday clubs, tuition, community activities and other out-of-school settings for children and young people over the age of 5 during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
These settings provide enriching activities that give children the opportunity to socialise with others outside their household and promote their wellbeing. We also recognise the importance of these settings in providing additional childcare options to parents and carers, particularly those with younger children, who may need to return to or continue to work during the school holidays.
Scientific advice suggests that there is a moderate to high degree of confidence that the susceptibility to clinical disease of younger children (up to age 11 to 13) is lower than for adults. However, it remains important that protective measures are put in place to help reduce the risk of transmission.
For older children, there is not enough evidence yet to determine whether susceptibility to disease is different to adults. Out-of-school settings may open to children and young people of all ages, and if you decide that your older child will attend an out-of-school setting you should still consider how to minimise any risk of infection that they may face. The risk can be minimised for children of all ages by ensuring that you are sending them to a provider that has coronavirus (COVID-19) protective measures in place, and taking practical steps to reduce the risk of your child coming in contact with someone who has the virus, such as encouraging your child to walk or cycle to the setting rather than taking public transport and discouraging them from mixing with different peer groups outside of the setting.
As these settings reopen, it is crucial that we are minimising the risk of transmission of the virus due to increased mixing between different groups of children. For this reason, you should consider sending your child to the same setting consistently.
We have released guidance for providers to help them put in place protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. While some providers will be Ofsted registered, not all will be, and there is no single responsible body with complete oversight of these settings, or the quality and safety of their provision. With this in mind, you will want to check with the provider that they have put in place protective measures to reduce the risk of infection before you send your child to a particular setting.
As the Prime Minister confirmed in his announcement on 23 June, providers who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children will be able to operate over the summer holiday with safety measures in place. Adjustments to the current measures for these providers are part of Step 3 of the government’s recovery strategy (from 4 July). Children will be able to attend settings such as tuition and learning centres, extracurricular clubs (such as ballet classes, gymnastics training, football coaching), uniformed youth organisations (such as Scouts and Guides), supplementary schools, private language schools and religious settings offering education (for example madrassahs, yeshivas, and Sunday schools).
Before the end of the summer term, while state schools in your local area are open, providers will only be able to operate for children from the eligible and priority groups; these are vulnerable children, children of critical workers and select year groups (early years, reception, year 1 and year 6). However, during the summer holiday period these settings can open to all children, provided they put in place the appropriate protective measures.
As more settings reopen, it is important that we continue to put in place ways to minimise the transmission risks of the virus. This means that you should consider sending your child to the same setting consistently, in order to prevent your child from mixing with multiple different groups of children.
We are recommending that providers keep children in small, consistent groups of no more than 15 children and one or two staff members. Group sizes may need to be smaller than 15 children depending on a number of factors such as age of the children in attendance, size of the premises or the type of activity. This means that when your child attends the first session they will be placed in a particular group or class of children and they should remain in that group for future sessions.
You are also advised to choose settings that are local to you. Where possible, parents, carers and children are encouraged to walk or cycle to the setting or to use a private vehicle. If you are using a private vehicle to take your child to an activity, you should avoid using it to take other children from outside your household to the same activity even if they are in the same small, consistent group. You are also encouraged to avoid using public transport to get to activities, particularly during peak times.
Anyone who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, such as a raised temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, should not attend an out-of-school setting and should follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
Children who are clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19).
Very few children are clinically extremely vulnerable or live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. The guidance for these groups is changing as the number of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) declines in our communities. Read the latest guidance.
We are aware that some parents and carers may look to holiday clubs and out-of-school settings to offer respite childcare during the summer for children with special educational needs or with an education, health and care plan (EHCP). We have asked providers to ensure that making provision available and accessible to these children, as far as possible, remains a priority in these current circumstances.
Before the end of summer term, while schools are open in a provider’s local area, they should follow the same protective measures as schools to limit different groups of children mixing. This means that, if open before the end of term, they should ensure they are:
For providers of out-of-school settings, like holiday or tuition clubs, that wish to operate over the summer holidays, the government has released protective measures guidance to help them put measures in place to reduce the risk of infection and transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). When state schools in the local area have closed for the summer term, children of all ages and from multiple schools may attend these settings.
The type of protective measures specific providers put in place will depend on their individual circumstances, such as the type of the activity they offer (for example whether children will be moving around rather than sitting at desks), the size and layout of their premises, and whether the activity is being held indoors or outdoors.
The key measures that every setting should have in place are:
Before sending your child to a setting, you will want to ask providers what measures have been put in place to keep children, staff members and parents or carers safe, and any practicalities you need to be aware of such as collection and drop-off times and whether your child should bring their own water bottle or lunch to the setting.
If your child becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste of smell (amnesia), they must stay at home and you should follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection guidance.
If your child becomes unwell while at a setting, the provider should call you immediately to come and collect them. While your child is awaiting collection they will be kept separately from others by a distance of at least 2 metres, ideally in a well-ventilated room with appropriate adult supervision. When you collect your child you should take them straight home; do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital. In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk.
Your child should then self-isolate for 7 days and you should arrange a test for them as soon as possible to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19). You can do this by visiting NHS.UK or contact NHS 119 via telephone if you do not have internet access. You and other fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days.
If your child tests negative, they can usually return to the setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation subject to confirmation from local health protection professionals.
If your child tests negative but is unwell, they should not return to the setting until they are recovered.
If your child tests positive, NHS Test and Trace will speak directly to those that have been in contact with your child to offer advice. This advice may be that the rest of their class or group within the setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. Household members should always self-isolate at home.
Out-of-school settings providers may not be able to accommodate parents and carers being present during a session due to guidelines on group sizes and social distancing.
Providers should be able to clearly communicate what protective measures they have put in place to minimise the risk to parents, children and staff in their setting by reducing the risk of transmission of the virus.
Some protective measures might limit parent and carer attendance. These may include:
It is good practice for providers to give parents and carers a parental consent form to complete when enrolling children in a setting so they have at least one emergency contact number for each child and are aware of any medical conditions or allergies. However, it is particularly important during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that you ensure the provider has your most up-to-date contact details in case of an emergency, such as your child falling ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while attending the setting. You should also keep an accurate record of when and where your child attends out-of-school settings to help NHS Test and Trace identify people who may have been in contact with your child should they test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you are unable to supervise your child during a session, you will want to satisfy yourself that a provider has put protective measures in place to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, as well as having adequate health and safety and child protection procedures. We have included checklists to support you when choosing a setting for your child in Annex A, below.
The information below provides some examples of positive signs to look out for to help you make good choices when choosing an out-of-school setting for your child, but this is not an exhaustive list.
PROVIDERS WITH STAFF MEMBERS:
The science is clear about one thing – COVID-19 is spread by droplets that come out of infected people's mouths while coughing, sneezing, singing, talking, and possibly just breathing.
It is also accepted by most people that wearing a face covering, or mask, cuts the chances of someone – including those who do not know they are infectious – of passing on the virus.
Many countries in the world have told people to wear face masks during the pandemic, with laws making them compulsory in enclosed public spaces such as shops and on public transport. Some countries also made them compulsory when outside the home.
But while the UK cites South Korea and others as role models for a "test, track and trace" approach to defeating the virus, it has for months rejected the other measure these countries had to stop the spread, which is the mass wearing of face masks.
Young children in Singapore wear face masks at school. UK schools are told that face masks could raise risks of infection for young children. /AFP
In Europe, Czechia, Slovakia and Austria acted early and have a low infection and death rate, while Italy, France and Spain have all since taken similar steps and seen their infection rates fall – but the UK has remained sceptical about face coverings. Indeed, in the early stages of the pandemic using face masks was actively discouraged, with the message that they should be reserved for health workers.
Amid growing pressure, the position has been changing and the UK government has now said face coverings will be compulsory on public transport in England – although only from 15 June.
It is worth mentioning that the UK view of face masks has been fairly closely aligned with that of the World Health Organisation, which says there is mixed evidence of the benefits of general wearing of face masks and says they should only be used in addition to social distancing and other protective measures, or in places where social distancing is not possible.
To find out why the UK has taken this view, we have looked through the published minutes of every meeting held about the COVID-19 pandemic by the UK's New & Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group (called Nervtag in the timeline below) and the Scientific Advisory Group England (called SAGE in the timeline) committee on the advice of which the UK government says it has been basing its decisions.
We found the discussion about face masks, when there has been any, has largely been focused on the possible negative impact of recommending the use of face masks and no apparent discussion in the minutes published so far (up to 7 May) on the possible correlation between countries where face masks are worn and low transmission rates.
Here is a list of 10 reasons given for not making general face masks/coverings compulsory:
Here in more detail is a timeline of the meetings: (with the references to face masks)
13th January 2020: Nervtag holds its first COVID-19 meeting. No mention of face masks. On screening of air travellers it says: "Based on the currently available evidence, taking particular note of SARS rather than influenza and also what we currently know about the novel coronavirus, Nervtag does support the current position that port of entry screening is not advised. Nervtag is fully aware of the single case in Thailand detected by a thermal image scan but, despite that, the Nervtag recommendation does not change."
21st January: Nervtag meets: No mention of face masks
22nd January: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
28th January: Nervtag meets: "The existing advice in the UK (for pandemic flu) is that face mask wearing by the general public is NOT recommended." The committee was asked if this should change.
"Despite China making it mandatory in some cities for the public to wear face masks… the committee reported that there is no evidence to support that the wearing of face masks by the general public reduces transmission. It was also noted that this may add to fear and anxiety."
28th January: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks for general public
30th January: Nervtag meets: No mention of face masks
3rd February: Nervtag recommends washing hands, covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and the use of hand gel if there is no soap. It also says people should be asked to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Wearing a face mask by people with COVID-19 symptoms is recommended, "if tolerated." But the wearing of face masks by well-people living with symptomatic people is not recommended, because it will not make any difference to whether they get infected. Wearing face masks by well-people interacting with well member of the public (either occupationally or otherwise) is not recommended
Members noted that the evidence for [mask] use is very weak and limited for those with prolonged contact with symptomatic individuals in the same household. The evidence for [mask] uses in the general public is near nil.
3rd February: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
4th February: SAGE meets: SAGE heard that Nervtag advises that there is limited to no evidence of the benefits of the general public wearing face masks as a preventative measure. Face masks and other personal protective equipment in the community is only advised for health and social care workers visiting individuals who may be infectious.
It says there is some evidence that wearing of face masks by symptomatic individuals may reduce transmission to other people, and therefore Nervtag also recommends that symptomatic people should be encouraged to wear a surgical face mask, providing that it can be tolerated.
6th February: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
7th February: Nervtag: No mention of face masks
11th February: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
13th February: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks. Instead, in the discussion about other possible measures there is a warning about 'presenteeism' – it says 20 percent of people go to work when feeling ill. It also says that any civil unrest usually relates to underlying social issues, rather than to a specific crisis; the crisis itself tends to be the flashpoint that exposes the underlying issues.
18th February: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
20th February: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
21th February: Nervtag: No mention of face masks for the general public
25th February: SAGE meets: Says that evidence of social distancing and school closures in Hong Kong, Wuhan and Singapore can reduce the R number to 1. Does not mention face masks.
27th February: SAGE meets: The reasonable worst-case scenario was that 80 percent of UK people will be infected with 1 percent of them dying. (that is about 550,000)
3th March: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
4th March: Nervtag: Discussion of merits of different types of personal protective equipment, but not face masks for the public
5th March: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
6th March: Nervtag: Members raised concerns around explaining why face masks were acceptable for healthcare staff but not the general public.
The minutes give this answer: "The difference is that healthcare staff are trained to use the masks and know when to change the masks when they become soggy or contaminated however with the general public, there is no control over how they would use the surgical face masks so they may use the same one for a week which is inappropriate."
"CS added that the surgical face masks are used by healthcare staff as part of a PPE ensemble and used alongside goggles, gloves and an apron and it is the combination of all of this that prevents contamination."
10th March: SAGE meets: Discussion of social distancing rules and reports from Italy, France, Germany, and Spain on how their measures have worked. No mention of face masks.
13th March: SAGE meets: Unanimous that measures seeking to completely suppress spread of Covid19 will cause a second peak. "SAGE advises that it is a near certainty that countries such as China, where heavy suppression is under way, will experience a second peak once measures are relaxed." No mention of face masks. This is the week that saw the UK bringing in its lockdown measures.
16th March: SAGE meets: Discussion over need to shut schools, get people to self-isolate and to test and social distancing. No mention of face masks.
18th March: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks. School closures need to happen, SAGE says. There is a concern that grandparents might be exposed to risk by having to take over childcare, but they hear an argument that it was most likely to impact single parents, and their parents tend to be younger, in their 50s, rather than in the more at risk age groups. Czechia made masks compulsory in supermarkets and on public transport. Slovakia followed a week later.
20th March: Nervtag: Discussion of COVID-19 aerosol route from coughing. Recommendations from the committee should have a scientific basis, but also consider the priorities for the availability of PPE in the UK, particularly with FFP3 masks.
23rd March: SAGE meets: Reaffirms view that closing borders would have negligible impact on growth of cases. No mention of face masks.
26th March: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
27thMarch: Nervtag: No mention of face masks. There was a discussion about nasal gargling with iodine for health care workers.
29th March: SAGE meeting: No mention of face masks (in Austria face masks are made compulsory for anyone going into a shop – its daily rate of infection drops sharply)
31st March: SAGE meeting: (R estimated at 0.6 and 0.9). No mention of face masks
2nd April: SAGE meeting: No mention of face masks. This is the 22nd SAGE meeting and it includes the decision that "a future meeting of SAGE will look at what the UK can learn from actions on other countries."
7th April: SAGE meets: NERVTAG concluded that the increased use of masks would have minimal effect in stopping people becoming infected. SAGE asked for more detail on whether this view would change if it was found that pre-symptomatic people had high levels of infectiousness. The U.S. had now recommended people wear face coverings, basing the recommendation on their ability to stop people who do not know they have COVID-19 infecting other people.
9th April: SAGE meets: Notes that the World Health Organization has said there is currently no conclusive evidence that face masks are beneficial for community use.
14th April: SAGE meets: Evidence does not currently support use of face masks to protect the wearer in the general population, although if someone is infectious it will reduce transmission. It says the evidence is marginally in favour of a small effect but only in specific circumstances - in enclosed environments. Downsides are needing to ensure people still social distance and the impact on supply chains for health workers. Agreed that a shorter paper on face masks for ministers to be presented at the next meeting.
16th April: SAGE meets: Agreement that face masks can be recommended as part of measures to release lockdown and social distancing measures but… must not threaten supplies for health staff, masks must not be allowed to lead to symptomatic people leaving their homes. Agreement for Chief Medical Officer to produce a summary of recommendations of wearing face masks.
20th April: Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) paper on behavioural considerations of telling everyone to wear face masks: It begins with the warning "we are unaware of evidence relating to these hypotheses."
They say that "if they (face masks) are recommended the message should be that they are in addition to social distancing and should be a sign that the wearer is trying to protect other people, rather than themselves."
But the risks are: People wearing them badly, reusing them and not disposing of them properly; use of "ineffective homemade masks" because of a lack of supply of adequate ones; People may be falsely reassured by wearing face masks so do not wash their hands so much. Also raises inequality issues - those unable to afford or go outside to buy or make them; harassment of people who are not wearing face masks, which could undermine collective solidarity, and also says there are policing implications if people wear face masks.
21 April: Sage meets: The effect of wearing face masks is weak, likely to be small but not zero. The evidence for using face masks is "marginally positive." But: Any policy decision must not jeopardise supply of masks to health and care workers. Distancing remains the preferred option but on public transport and some shops where distancing is not possible, cloth masks could be "at least partially effective." No evidence to support long term mass wearing of face coverings or wearing them outdoors. Can't rule out that those with symptoms might feel able to break quarantine by wearing a mask, others might repeatedly put a face mask on and off and that could lead to "increased hand-face contact." CMO paper to be drafted for ministers.
21st April: Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) – warns of a risk in new crimes – including "theft of masks if designated as compulsory for public transport."
23rd April: Sage meets: UK funded research project to look at how long the virus can stay on a face mask "it may survive for up to seven days."
28th April: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
30th April: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
1st May: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
1st May: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks. In a media conference, after Scotland recommended people wear face masks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says face coverings could be a useful tool in lifting the lockdown because, despite weak science, they will "give people confidence they can go back to work."
5th May: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks
7th May: SAGE meets: No mention of face masks. This is the last meeting for which the minutes have been published.
11th May: Boris Johnson announces lockdown-easing measures including advice that people in the UK wear "face coverings" – not surgical masks as they want to reserve them for health workers – in enclosed public spaces where they cannot social distance, such as on public transport and in some shops. It is not mandatory, and masks are still rarely seen by shoppers and pictures are shared of people on public transport not wearing masks.
4th June: The transport secretary announces that face coverings will be mandatory on public transport in England, from 15 June. He said these face coverings should not be surgical masks but things like homemade masks or scarves. He says surgical masks must be reserved for healthcare workers and says that social distancing and hand washing remain the most important measures. There is no mention of making face masks compulsory inside shops or in any other part of daily life.
In-depth: The Pandemic Playbook
This Risk Assessment was carried out by Sean Trimble - Executive Headteacher
Date of Assessment: May 20th, July 7th, and 1st September 2020
Date of Review: 3rd November 2020
From 20th March 2020, schools were closed for all except a few pupils because of the worldwide pandemic. The UK went into lockdown, meaning that people could only leave their homes to buy food, exercise and carry out critical work.
This left parents and carers home educating their children with the support of school. Children have experienced loss of social interaction with their friends, extended family, and their teachers. They have lost their usual structure and routines as they are not able to attend school and extracurricular activities. They have been without their usual freedoms, playing outside and visiting leisure areas. Some may have experienced bereavement of friends or family. All our children have suffered some form of loss. Most of our pupils have experienced large gaps in their learning before attending our school and we are mindful that this experience may be a trigger for those pupils who experienced a myriad of negative feelings, including rejection.
Larwood School will address this through the development of a recovery curriculum, which is based on the work of Barry Carpenter and the Evidence for Learning team: “A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic”. See further reading for more references.
Our recovery curriculum aims to restore the mental health and rebuild the resilience of our pupils to allow them to become learners again by:
There will be a three phased approach:
1. Whole school approach
2. Personalised response (based on individual needs)
3. Deep Recovery (longer period of recovery and specialist support)
1. Whole school approach
This will encompass the main curriculum upon our return. For most pupils, this will be sufficient to meet the aims set out above, although their journeys will happen over different time frames. From the activities planned, staff will be able to identify those who need more support in their recovery which will lead to a personalised response. All classes will have more emphasis on emotional and mental wellbeing while our more traditional (SEND, Larwood lessons) will take time to embed back into the routine. All children will work with staff 1:1 to complete the WRAP workbook with their class team as well as the 1 decision nurture lessons.
"WRAP is a tool that can aid an individual’s recovery and its underpinning principles support the recovery approach. WRAP is a way of monitoring wellness, times of being less well and times when experiences are uncomfortable and distressing. It also includes details of how an individual would like others to support them at these different times.”
WRAP has 5 key principles:
Pupils can be identified through the completion of the WRAP model who may need more support for their emotional and mental health and this can be addressed in the personalised response either through the use of the intervention team or outside counsellors such as the Butterfly Rooms.
2. Personalised response
Where pupils are unable to engage in the holistic curriculum, further work will be undertaken by school staff such as the intervention team, or our external counsellors to enable them to meet the above aims.
3. Deep recovery
For pupils who have experienced severe trauma or bereavement, specialist support may be required in their recovery.
“Now is the time to return to more humane approaches concerned with the fundamental wellbeing, and secure positive development of the child. Without this there will be no results that have true meaning and deep personal value to the child in terms of their preparation for adulthood.”
(Barry Carpenter & Matthew Carpenter 2020)
Recognising the experiences had by all
We will create time to share our experiences of lockdown. Some pupils will be more open to share, whereas for others it will take some time or require anonymity. We will create space within our day to allow for these conversations. It is important to note that although lockdown has caused losses, it will have been a positive experience for some, allowing for more quality family time and child led learning. We will encourage discussions around learning, play, relationships and more. This can be facilitated through circle time, 1-1 conversations, increased free-time, social stories and worry boxes, worry monsters etc.
Restoring trust and relationships with staff
Children, especially young children, will have felt a level of abandonment from school staff, through no fault of the school. It will take time to build up their trust and restore relationships. Staff will continue to nurture and support through positive words and role modelling the school values. Within the day there will be plenty of opportunity to talk and play together, allowing time for 1-1 conversations. Staffing will be kept as consistent as possible.
Re-establishing friendships and social interactions
Taking into consideration the safety procedures put into place, pupils will be given plenty of free-time or playtime in which they can re-establish their friendships. Daily circle time will allow for thoughtful discussion surrounding the value of friendship. Shared activities, like daily exercise will bring the pupils back together into teams.
Regaining structure and routine
The process of returning to a ‘normal timetable’ will be a phased one. At the beginning, there will be more free-time and child-led learning. A visual timetable will be used to create structure to the day, even if some of these times are unstructured. There will be elements of the timetable that will be constant each day, like exercise, mindfulness, and circle time. Parts of the school day that pupils will be expecting, like English and Maths, will be included in short bursts. The timetable will be re-evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that all pupils within the group are coping with the transition back to school. See appendix A.
Rebuilding a sense of community
Communication between school and home will be maintained through newsletters, phone calls and emails. Parents will be encouraged to communicate through the phone or email, to limit the physical interactions with staff. Pupils will have the opportunity to take part in whole-school projects that promote togetherness, like the Larwood Challenge of the Week. The Larwood Challenge will vary, it could be a writing competition a helpfulness competition and will allow children who participate to be recognised and earn house points (Star Dust for those in Space Hub) Work produced during lockdown will be collated and displayed in school. Through talk, groups will gain understanding of their peers and support each other.
Regulating their emotions and managing behaviours
PSHE lessons and circle time will focus on managing emotions and behaviours. The school rules will be re-established with the pupils, emphasising the questions ‘am I safe and can I be trusted?’ As well as the school values that run alongside them. Pupils will be given space to explore their feelings and seek out help to manage them. School needs to be a safe and happy place before learning can begin.
Re-engaging them in learning
Once the children feel safe and happy, they can begin to engage with their learning again. To help transition, focussed learning will be kept to short bursts in the beginning, with free time later in the day for finishing up if requested by the children. Child-led projects and story-based learning will aim to re-engage the pupils with their learning. The Maths, English and Topic based learning will mirror what is being set on the YouTube channel for those learning at home.
Preparation for transition
Transition back to school will be aided through social stories, a transition piece of work and communication from staff. Pupils will be given time to adjust to their new routines, spaces, and adults. Transition between school years will be planned through virtual meetings and tours. Larger transitions (starting school or those in year 6) will be a focus for those pupils within PSHE time.
Thinking and research:
Think piece. A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic. https://www.evidenceforlearning.net/recoverycurriculum/
How we plan for the return to the classrooms, playgrounds and corridors of schools. https://restoreourschools.wordpress.com/
Support a Safe & Successful Return to School using the SWAN framework https://elearning.creativeeducation.co.uk/courses/support-a-safe-successful-return-to-school-using-the-swan-framework/
Five ways to help children heal after the pandemic https://www.tes.com/news/five-ways-help-children-heal-after-pandemic
Reducing Anxiety in Kids Returning to School After Isolation https://www.teachstarter.com/podcast/reducing-anxiety-kids-returning-school/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=podcast&utm_content=Reducing+Anxiety+in+Kids+Returning+to+School+After+Isolation
Resources to use in school:
Posters to use in school https://www.griefrecoverymethod.co.uk/schools/
How can we best support children and young people with their worries and anxiety? https://emergingminds.org.uk/supporting-children-and-young-people-with-worries-and-anxiety-coronavirus/
Worksheets and workbooks https://www.yesfutures.org/resources-for-parents
Books beyond words https://booksbeyondwords.co.uk/coping-with-coronavirus
1Decision All About me work book/online PPT https://schools.1decision.co.uk/
Supporting staff to support children:
Supporting Parents and Children Emotionally https://rockpool.life/course/space-supporting-parents-and-children-emotionally/
How to start a conversation with children about mental health https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/getting-started/how-to-start-a-conversation-with-children-about-mental-health/
Tips on various issues regarding mental health during the pandemic: https://www.headstogether.org.uk/60-second-support/
How to have difficult conversations with children https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/safeguarding-child-protection/how-to-have-difficult-conversations-with-children
Talking to a child worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/childrens-mental-health/depression-anxiety-mental-health/
The Wrap Primary Model which will be shared on 16th June 2020
Example Daily Timetable
OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES DURING EXCEPTIONAL TIMES
LARWOOD ACADEMY TRUST COVID 19 RESPONSE-UPDATED-OCT 21
NB-THIS DOUCMENT IS LAIBLE TO CHANGE AND REVISION AT ANY TIME
The Covid 19 pandemic spread quickly across the UK during March/April. Lockdown procedures for the country were introduced towards the end of March and all schools found themselves in an unprecedented place. Very quickly, we have had to adapt to keeping staff and pupils safe and well, whilst a dangerous and relatively unknown virus swept across the country. As a Trust, we quickly agreed to and adhered to the following:
‘First do no harm’
Taken from the Hippocratic Oath, this has allowed us to be cautious yet caring, maintain the well-being of our communities and steer our own course whilst being inclusive of appropriate and comprehensive evidence. This does mean that we may choose, at time and with good reason to not follow such evidence, if it presents as a strong possibility to do potential harm. Our stance is to be prepared to be wrong (not following guidance for example when it is first released) if it means that we end being right (less/no harm to pupils/staff/families and Trustee’s).
The following sections provide details how we will work in light of Covid 19. This may last for some time and could evolve with time.
We continue to use the above as our guiding principle, but we are also aware of the evolution of the pandemic and the need for adaptation, continued resilience, and new practice. The latter must be robust enough to serve a number of differing scenarios.
This was initially done slowly but surely and at approx. 10% of full capacity. Various models may be used, and they include a Build Model/ Year Group Model/ Split Day Model and Day Rotation model. Classes have been measured and we take into account the challenging nature of our pupils, as well as some not being able to socially distance very well. Our approach also includes:
From the onset of this issue, we have prioritised the health and wellbeing of all those in our community. This remains at the forefront of all of approaches. Just like our pupils, our staff have had and will have a range of concerns and anxieties in relation to this issue. Senior leaders recognise that we are not experts in this matter or situation! Therefore, we will listen to staff, communicate frequently, and take on board advice from other groups, to ensure we have the best possible range of solutions in the situation that we find ourselves in. This may include medical groups, colleagues within the DFE, local authority experts and unions. However, we will make decisions that are best suited to our context and that allow for quality educational provision, whilst keeping as safe as possible.
We are fortunate in that we had quick and easy access for staff to speak to an online doctor before this pandemic, as it is a standard part of our package of benefits for all staff. We also have existing contacts for any counselling or financial support that staff may have at any time, but also with reference to this situation.
We have ensured that any staff that may need to shield, be it for direct or family related concerns has been able to do so and we will continue to support this for as long as it is necessary to do so. We have also enabled staff with children that need parental supervision, are able stay away from work, undue pressure from attendance at work. A degree of flexibility is needed with this matter from both staff, and us as employers, using family and school context as key drivers. It was also noted early on that we did not see the sense in making our staff’s children go to school and mix with others and then send them back home to potentially spread the disease.
Therefore, as matters progress we fully expect staff to be available for work (depending on circumstances outlined above) and may rota them on or use them more frequently when safe and appropriate to do so.
PPE. Although there is continued debate about the availability, standard and use of PPE, we want to ensure staff have access to this if they want to use it. Therefore, gloves and a mask would be available if staff want to use them. As we have taken measures that include social distancing for pupils and staff and we continue to emphasise and enforce frequent hand washing, we are meeting the need prescribed to enable a high degree of safety.
I am actively chasing for the availability of testing to also help with supporting staff.
We will do the following whilst we are experiencing this situation:
We have already made the recommended changes to our Keeping Children Safe in Education policy, to take into account the Covid 19 issue and the majority of learners now accessing materials online.
Staff have been provided with access to and have had to attend online training for the new world that we find ourselves in.
Our practice will still maintain high levels of confidentiality, data protection and seeking the very best practice for all concerned.
Our day-to-day physical protocols have already been revised at both schools. Staff will need training and information about these revisions and SLT will then ensure that staff follow them, for their own Safety. ‘Old habits die hard’ and we will all need to remind each other about social distance and ways that we mix and integrate whilst Covid 19 is such an issue/.
This is always essential, but particularly when such a demanding and challenging situation has thrust upon us. Weekly updates for staff and governors have now become the norm, alongside a weekly update for parents. There may be a need to increase this frequency as matters progress, but so far, both parent and staff feedback indicate high levels of satisfaction with communication.
‘If always do what we have always done, we always get what we have always got.’ A personal mantra of mine that has served me well! Having used this to critically review what and how we operate, it is even more important to apply this now!
New ‘rules’ for staff, pupils, everyday procedures including entering the building and moving around etc. have to be implemented. Both schools have potential plans for staff and pupils that include expansion but will also be mindful of health and well-being.
Any change will be done slowly and with care to avoid school based spikes in infection and potential harm to pupils/families and staff/families.
As with all matters, our work and communication with Trustee’s must continue. It may be that this will be different in terms of how we communicate (virtually rather than face to face), and with a revised set of temporary key drivers. However, we have planned for this to allow to the continuation of challenge and support as directed but within contextual demands.
Pupils that are moving on:
Where possible, visits, following social distance may be able to take place. If schools have very few pupils and the pupils/parent does not interact/hand wash on entry and exit and keep distance, this may be feasible. If not, video presentations of tours/classrooms/dining areas/toilets etc. will need to be made, and then visits may have to be postponed. Depending on how the pandemic continues. This may have a delaying effect to entry.
The usual contacts and meetings with parents will either have to be conducted using strict socially distanced protocols or by telephone or virtual meeting. The usual approach to providing resources and topics for this movement can be provided, and as much support form secondary colleagues is being sought and encouraged.
Much of what has been stated above will also apply here. Parent meetings will take place in a different format if need be, and pupils will be allowed to visit, following the protocols needed at the time of the visit. Supportive materials for new pupils will also be supplied and consideration made in relation to how the school’s website can also be used to help with this transition.
If we return in September to a continued model of part time education, then a phased inclusion of new pupils will also be used at the time.
We have always had rules and ‘normal’ operational procedures. These have now been revised to allow us all to stay as safe and healthy as possible during the Covid 19 pandemic. They are not a choice and are designed to limit risk for you, our pupils and all our families.
Staff Procedures for entering and exiting the building:
Identified risk of spread of Covid 19 via collection of adults in small spaces and many adults touching the same items as part of the process. This could lead to a variety of symptoms, some of which may be mild but also could mean hospitalisation/death in some cases
Identified risk of spread of Covid 19 via collection of adults (children) in small spaces and many adults touching the same items as part of the process. This could lead to a variety of symptoms, some of which may be mild but also could mean hospitalisation/death in some cases
Only use the toilet that has been allocated to you. Staff have been allocated toilets based on reducing the numbers using each one and where they are located. Do not use toilets in other areas of the school as this will help with potential spread of Covid. Wash/sanitize hands before and after use.
If you are feeling unwell before schools starts (high temp/coughing etc) THEN DO NOT COME INTO WORK!
Phone Pierre as you would do normally and contact your Doctor/use Perkbox or Medicash online support.
Get tested ASAP! This is open to all staff. Follow the instructions already published by Sean via email. If negative, then return to work. If positive you need to self-isolate for 7 days. Your family members in your house need to self-isolate for 14 days.
If you become unwell whilst at work, tell Pierre or a member of SLT ASAP and then isolate leave the building as soon as you can. You must avoid being near others if this happens. Contact your Doctor and get tested ASAP.
(Parents will be reminded to not send in pupils if they are unwell in any way)
Check how the pupils feels via conversation. As we ae all using social distance, you have no need to be close to them.
Contact Ian if it seems that the child has possible CV 19 symptoms or may need to go home unwell.
Ian will go to the end room in Fox and open the door (old dining area for pupils not in the main hall).
ESCORT THE PUPIL TO THIS DOOR BY GOING OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOL BUILIDING AND NOT VIA CORRIDORS AND FOX. This will be the area where the pupil will remain (door closed) until they can go home. Ian will supervise this by standing outside with external door being open.
When possible, we would get all pupils and staff in that class tested ASAP. The class would also be deep cleaned ASAP. The idea of test/track and trace would be implemented to help the spread of the virus. By limiting movement and numbers on school, this should be easy to then follow up with.
Please then consider where the pupil has been and what they may have touched. If this situation happens first thing in the morning, then s0me basic cleaning should suffice. If it is later in the day, a class may need to be moved and the area closed off and cleaned ASAP.
Wearing the supplied gloves and if safe to do so please wipe clean and wipe down at areas where possible.
Just like many schools, workplaces, individuals, families and the government, there has been an element of ‘finding our way’ during this time. However, we quickly established a principle of ‘first do no harm’ and then moved on with this firmly in mind. Therefore we:
At the start of the academic year, we have met with all staff, provided training and spent time dedicated to Covid best practice. Each school has its own set of procedures but retain common principles. Our risk assessments have been reviewed and we have welcomed back all staff and pupils*.
Since the start of the term we have experienced:
Lessons to be learned and actions at this early stage of the year:
NB-Please note that both schools will have pupils returning over weeks. This is standard practice to aid carefully planned expansion of numbers, care, and school ethos. It is also really helpful with Covid 19!