To support the safe return to school, the Government’s updated Contain framework has been published. This framework sets out four tiers of intervention for schools and colleges when managing local outbreaks and implementing restrictions.
At Tier 1, schools will remain fully open to pupils full time, with face covering required in corridors and communal areas for pupils in Year 7 and above.
At Tier 2, secondary schools and colleges in the restricted area will be advised to use rotas to help break chains of transmission, with primary school staying open to all pupils.
Tiers 3 and 4 introduce remote learning full time for wider groups of pupils, with vulnerable children and children of critical workers continuing to attend.
I am pleased to see that within the guidance it is made clear that local government, public health official and national Government will take all other possible measures before considering restricting attendance in education.
If restrictions are required, remote education will be an essential component in the delivery of the school curriculum for some pupils. All schools are therefore expected to plan to ensure any pupils who need to be educated at home are given the support they need to master the curriculum and make good progress.
Recognising that children will have fallen behind during the period of school closures, a £1 billion COVID-19 ‘catch-up’ package is in place this academic year to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. This one-off grant to support pupils recognises that all young people have lost time in education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of their income or background.
Testing is also available to anyone living in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and the NHS Test and Trace programme is now operational and ready to react to any cases detected.