Back to school guidance (inc PE provision) for limited return proposed for 1st June 2020
Schools, colleges and nurseries across England remain on track to open to more children from 1 June, the Prime Minister confirmed today (24 May 2020).
Primary schools will welcome back children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, while nurseries and other early years providers will begin welcoming back children of all ages.
Secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will also provide face-to-face contact for Year 10, Year 12 and equivalent 16-19 further education students to help them prepare for exams next year. It is expected this will begin from 15 June, with around a quarter of these secondary students in at any point.
The government acknowledged that some schools may not be able to reopen immediately and are committed to continuing to work with the sector to ensure any schools experiencing difficulties are able to open as soon as possible.
In line with the government’s roadmap setting out how the UK will adjust its response to the virus, the approach to schools remains a cautious, phased one. It is also broadly in line with other European countries.
department for education
Clear, detailed guidance has been published by the Department for Education on how schools can open in a way which is safe for children, teachers and parents including Protective measures, Advice for parents and carers and Advice for schools.
While it is recognised that full social distancing may not be possible, the guidance sets out a range of measures to protect children and staff. This includes:
- reducing the size of classes and keeping children in small groups without mixing with others
- staggered break and lunch times, as well as drop offs and pickups
- increasing the frequency of cleaning, reducing the used of shared items and utilising outdoor space
YST and AfPE
The Youth Sports Trust (YST) and the Association for Physical Education (AfPE) have also published guidance relating to the delivery of PE and physical activity in schools. (Click on the image to the right to enlarge it).
All children, school staff and their families, will also have access to testing if they display symptoms. This will enable children and staff to get back to school if they test negative, and if they test positive a test and trace approach can be taken.
Children will also be encouraged not to travel on public transport where possible, in line with the advice to the wider population.
The ambition is to bring all primary year groups back to school before the summer holidays, for a month if feasible, though this will be kept under review. Schools will only welcome back additional year groups if the most up-to-date assessment of the risk posed by the virus indicates it is appropriate to have larger numbers of children within schools. The safety of children and staff is the utmost priority.
The three year groups within mainstream primary have been prioritised because they are key transition years – children in Reception and year 1 are at the very beginning of their school career and are mastering the essential basics, including counting and the fundamentals of reading and writing, and learning to socialise with their peers. We know that attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development. Year 6 children are finishing Key Stage 2 and are preparing for the transition to secondary school and will benefit immensely from time with their friends and teachers to ensure they are ready.
Younger children will be prioritized in the first phases of wider opening, for several reasons. Firstly, because there is moderately high scientific confidence in evidence suggesting younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with coronavirus (COVID-19); and secondly because evidence shows the particularly detrimental impact which time spent out of education can have upon them. In addition, older children are more likely to have higher numbers of contacts outside of school so pose a greater transmission risk, and they are typically better able to learn at home.
The two-year groups in mainstream secondary schools and colleges have been prioritised because they are preparing for key examinations next year and are most at risk of falling behind due to time out of school or college. From 1 June 2020, we expect that secondary schools and colleges will be able to offer some face to face contact with year 10 and year 12 pupils. This will not be a return to full timetables or pupils back in school or college full time, rather some support to supplement pupils’ remote education. In line with implementing protective measures and reducing contacts, schools and colleges should limit the attendance of the year 10 and 12 cohort in the setting at any one time and to keep students in small groups as set out in our guidance. Schools and colleges should also ensure that the use of public transport for travel to and from school/college is minimised, especially at peak times. Consultation with sector representatives will take palce over the coming week in order to develop some suggested models to demonstrate how this could operate, which will be published along with further guidance for secondary schools in the coming weeks.
The approach is in line with other countries across Europe, who have begun to bring pre-school and school-age children back in a phased way and are focusing on primary schools and younger children. Approaches between countries will vary slightly based on different public health circumstances.
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
IOSH have also issued advice on how to return to schools safely. Decisions being made around re‑opening schools have important implications for staff, children, parents, carers, and communities at large. IOSH's full guide to considerations for decision‑makers and educators can be found here.
A framework for the safe delivery of children’s activity provision during social distancing
UK Active Kids has produced a document that sets out the framework for safe physical activity provision in schools and facilities during an anticipated period of "social distancing" following the full closure of the schools/facilities due to COVID-19. It also provides the basis for individual providers to develop their own required technical operating guidance for working with children, young people and families. This advice seeks to support staﬀ working in facilities (i.e. school sites), to deliver physical activity programming in the safest way possible, focusing on measures they can put in place to deliver activity clubs and out of school provision post COVID-19.
The framework has been developed in full partnership with the ukactive Children’s Activity Providers and has been reviewed by stakeholders across the education and physical activity sectors. It has also been informed by best practice from ukactive kids members and Department for Education guidance.
The Children’s Activity Provider sector will have a vital role in ensuring the ongoing health and wellbeing of young people and their families following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. We believe this role has never been more important than at the current time in helping the country and British society regain its health. The Government realises how important ‘exercise’ is, and as the Chief Medical Oﬃcer stated: “There is no situation, no age, no condition, where exercise is not a good thing.”
Please find the full document here