The DfE has tonight published guidance for education and childcare settings in England to prepare for fuller opening from 1 June 2020, alongside further information on implementing protective measures and guidance for parents and carers. These are available online:
- As the Prime Minister announced yesterday, by 1 June at the earliest primary schools in England may be able to welcome back children in key transition years – nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
- Secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will also work towards the possibility of providing some face-to-face contact with young people in Year 10 and Year 12 to help them prepare for exams next year.
- Progress will be monitored every day. If the virus stays on the downward slope, and the R remains below 1, then – and only then – will it become safe to go further, move to the second step and reopen schools.
- Early years settings may also be able to open for all children. The aim is for other primary years to return later in June, but this will be kept under review, and there are currently no plans to reopen secondary schools for other year groups before the summer holidays.
- Priority groups, including vulnerable children and children of critical workers who have been eligible to attend throughout school closures, will continue to be able to attend schools, colleges and early years settings as they are currently.
- The Government is asking schools and childcare providers to plan on this basis, ahead of confirmation of the scientific advice.
- This will only happen when the five key tests set by Government justify the changes at the time, including the rate of infection decreasing and the enabling programmes set out in the Roadmap operating effectively.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“I know how hard schools, colleges, early years settings and parents are working to make sure children and young people can continue to learn at home, and I cannot thank them enough for that.
“But nothing can replace being in the classroom, which is why I want to get children back to school as soon as it is safe to do so. The latest scientific advice indicates it will be safe for more children to return to school from 1 June, but we will continue to limit the overall numbers in school and introduce protective measures to prevent transmission.
"This marks the first step towards having all young people back where they belong – in nurseries, schools and colleges – but we will continue to be led by the scientific evidence and will only take further steps when the time is right.”
What is PACEY doing?
We will, of course, be reviewing this guidance over the next few days and publishing information and support to help childcare providers.
We are working with the Department to devise and publish a framework and toolkit over the coming days to support the sector.
In Wales the situation is different, please see our Updates for the sector in Wales for the latest information.
Please do remember that you can let us know your thoughts and concerns about reopening here in our questionnaire here.