The Department for Education has published plans to have all children and young people back in full-time education from September. Current restrictions on group sizes will be lifted to allow schools, colleges and nurseries to full reopen. There will also be a reintroduction of mandatory attendance.
Where there is a positive case in a school or college, Public Health England’s local health protection team will advise on the appropriate action. If there are two or more confirmed cases in a two-week period, students and staff may be asked to self-isolate and schools will be expected to have plans for remote education for isolating pupils. Where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be despatched for specific detailed investigations.
Ofsted will also carry out visits to schools in the autumn term to discuss how schools are supporting the return to education for their pupils, with routine inspections planned in January 2021. Exams in 2021 will go ahead, and Ofqual have launched a consultation on the proposed changes to mitigate the impact of time out of school.
The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson gave a statement in the House of Commons on returning to normal education which he said was critical to the national recovery from coronavirus. He said the Government intends that those with Education Health and Care plans and those with special educational needs will be back in school from September. Unless the evidence changes, he said he will not be issuing further notice to modify the EHC duties for local authorities but may look at small changes based on the need to respond to individual outbreaks in parts of the country.
The full announcement can be found here.