Coronavirus Advice

All information on this page is provided by the GOV.UK website and from emailed advice from the Department for Education.

Edited Friday 3rd April, 3pm

Ofqual update on examinations

Since the Secretary of State announced that the 2020 exam series in England would be cancelled to help fight the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Ofqual has developed a process which will fairly recognise students’ work and make sure they get their grades in time to progress. Ofqual has today set out how GCSEs, AS and A levels will be awarded this summer and published further guidance for education staff, students, parents and carers.

For this summer’s awards, schools and colleges are being asked to provide centre assessment grades for their students. These should be fair, objective and carefully considered judgements of the grades schools and colleges believe their students would have been most likely to achieve if they had sat their exams and should take into account the full range of available evidence.

Ofqual has published a message to students to reassure them that they, and exam boards, will do everything they can to make sure that, as far as possible, grades are fair and that students are not disadvantaged because of this unprecedented situation.

Guidance from Ofqual on how qualifications will be graded and awarded in summer 2020 can be found here:

Summer 2020 exams and school/college accountability

The department has confirmed that it will not hold schools or colleges to account on the basis of exams and assessment data from summer 2020, and that others, such as Ofsted and local authorities, should adopt the same approach. We will not be publishing, or sharing, institution-level school and college accountability measures, such as Progress 8 and Level 3 Value Added, using the summer 2020 data.

We have set out details of statistical publications that will not be released this year and will be providing a further update for settings in due course.

Updates on forthcoming statistical publications can be found here:

Schools, colleges and early years settings to close

Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that as part of the country’s ongoing response to COVID-19, schools, colleges and early years settings have been asked to close to everyone except children of key workers and vulnerable children from Monday 23 March.

Where schools are unable to provide this reduced provision, local authorities will work with the Department for Education’s regional teams to ensure an alternative option is available.

Further details on this announcement can be found here:

 

New free school meals guidance

We have confirmed that we will give schools the flexibility to deliver meals or provide shop vouchers to children entitled to free school meals if they are no longer attending school, either due to closures or as a result of self-isolating at home.

Schools will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops, which can be sent directly to families who are either self-isolating at home or whose schools are closed on government advice. Final rates will be confirmed in the coming days, but we have confirmed that the voucher value for each eligible child will exceed the rate that schools are paid for free school meals, recognising that families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore incur higher costs.

Full guidance can be found here:

New guidance for households with symptoms

Yesterday, the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
  • if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
  • A new, continuous cough

The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here:

Department for Education Coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is now available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

Government Coronavirus action plan

This document sets out what the UK as a whole has done to tackle the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and what it plans to do next.

The action plan can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan

The document includes:

  • what we know about the virus and the disease it causes
  • how we have planned for an infectious disease outbreak, such as the current coronavirus outbreak
  • the actions we have taken so far in response to the current coronavirus outbreak
  • what we are planning to do next, depending upon the course the current coronavirus outbreak takes
  • the role the public can play in supporting this response, now and in the future

The importance of hygiene

Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.

How to wash your hands properly

Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance:

Teach young children how to wash their hands with the NHS handwashing song:

Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Educational resources

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

Resources are currently available for KS1, KS2 and KS3 and can be used in various settings including schools:

Parents and carers may find this list of educational links useful during school closures.  Individual schools will be sending work home with children and directing to online resources.

NHS - How to wash your hands properly

NHS - How to wash your hands song