What Step 4 changes mean for education and childcare settings

From today, England has moved to Step 4 of the roadmap. The Prime Minister has emphasised the need to remain cautious as restrictions are lifted.

We published a webinar last week which provides information on the key changes to COVID-19 measures in education settings, such as ‘bubbles’, contact tracing, face coverings, self-isolation and testing, in addition to providing answers to some frequently asked questions.

The webinar is available to view on the document sharing platforms and can be accessed using the following links:

·         primary schools and early years

·         secondary schools, further education and higher education

·         children’s social care

Further information on Step 4 and the changes to COVID-19 measures in education and childcare settings can be found in our guidance.

We have updated guidance to reflect that we have moved to Step 4 of the roadmap and have converted the following pieces of guidance from PDF to HTML format today, making them more accessible and easier to navigate and read:

·         Schools COVID-19 operational guidance

·         Actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic

·         Health and safety: responsibilities and duties for schools

·         SEND and specialist settings: additional COVID-19 operational guidance

·         Dedicated transport to schools and colleges COVID-19 operational guidance

·         Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children’s social care

·         COVID-19: Actions for out-of-school settings

·         Out-of-school settings: COVID-19 guidance for parents and carers

Changes to contact tracing for schools, colleges and nurseries

From today, schools, colleges and nurseries no longer need to carry out routine contact tracing. From this point onwards, close contacts will be identified and contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

In response to feedback from stakeholders, we have produced guidance, some frequently asked questions and answers, and a template letter for settings to send to parents, pupils and students on changes to contact tracing of close contacts. These can all be found on the document sharing platforms for primary and early yearssecondary schools, further education and higher education and children's social care.


New website for parents to help their children catch-up

The department has launched an information site for parents, to support children of all age ranges and abilities catch up on lost learning from the pandemic. The site features advice and support for parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), as well as programmes, resources and activities for children and young people this summer.

Please do share this with your parent networks.

Further information can be found on the education catch-up for your child homepage.


Department for Education COVID-19 helpline

The Department for Education COVID-19 helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) is available to answer any questions you have about COVID-19 relating to education settings and children’s social care.