CST’s statement on opening schools more widely

Read statement here

Exceptional costs – how to submit a claim

DfE has issued instructions on how to claim exceptional costs related to COVID-19. You only have until 21 July 2020 to submit an application form.

COVID Summer Food Fund – new supermarkets added 

DfE has amended guidance (30 June 2020) on the COVID Summer Food Fund, adding Company Shop Group and Iceland, including The Food Warehouse Stores, to the list of supermarkets you can order eGift cards for. They have also added an example to show how you could schedule smaller gift cards.

Temporary extension of free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups – updated guidance 30 June 2020

DfE has updated guidance on the temporary extension of free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups. This is to reflect the change in annual household income threshold to £16,190 after tax. A sample application form is also included.

Free School Meals over the summer – clarification 

Guidance on providing Free School Meals can be found here.

Reducing burdens on educational and care settings – amended guidance 26 June 2020

In April 2020, DfE published guidance which cancelled or paused all but the most essential data collections, services and requests until June 2020. A review of the list has now taken place and the pause period has been extended to September 30 for those collections which remain paused.

COVID-19 Summer Food Fund – new guidance

DfE has published guidance (25 June 2020) for schools and local authorities on providing vouchers to support pupils eligible for free school meals over the summer holiday period during COVID-19.

Exceptional costs associated with COVID-19 – amended guidance

DfE has amended guidance on exceptional costs,  adding information on the impact of schools’ financial reserves on eligibility for this funding.

Actions for early years and childcare providers – updated guidance 

Dfe has updated guidance for early years and childcare providers to reflect that early years providers are now able to open for all children and to provide additional information on protective measures.

Education Support Partnership

A new £95,000 pilot project in partnership with the Education Support Partnership will focus on teachers’ and leaders’ mental health, providing online peer-support and telephone supervision from experts to around 250 school leaders.

Tuition – Education Endowment Foundation summary of the evidence

Evidence indicates that one to one tuition can be effective, delivering approximately five additional months’ progress on average. Overall, the evidence is consistent and strong, particularly for younger learners who are behind their peers in primary schools, and for subjects like reading and mathematics. Effects on pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds also tend to be particularly positive.

Short, regular sessions (about 30 minutes, three to five times a week) over a set period of time (six to twelve weeks) appear to result in optimum impact. Evidence also suggests tuition should be additional to, but explicitly linked with, normal teaching, and that teachers should monitor progress to ensure the tutoring is beneficial.

Studies comparing one to one with small group tuition show mixed results. In some cases one to one tuition has led to greater improvement, while in others tuition in groups of two or three has been equally or even more effective. The variability in findings may suggest it is the particular type or quality of teaching enabled by very small groups that is important, rather than the precise size of the group.

Programmes involving teaching assistants or volunteers can have a valuable impact but tend to be less effective than those using experienced and specifically trained teachers, which have nearly twice the effect on average. Where tuition is delivered by volunteers or teaching assistants there is evidence that training and the use of a structured programme is advisable.

EEF will be providing guidance, but their current advice is that schools and trusts should consider the following:

  • Consider using small group tuition instead and evaluating the impact.
  • Tuition is more likely to make an impact if it is additional to and explicitly linked with normal lessons.
  • For one to one tuition led by teaching assistants, interventions are likely to be particularly beneficial when the teaching assistants are experienced and well-trained.
  • A number of one to one programmes delivered by teaching assistants have been rigorously evaluated and shown to be effective.

The National Tutoring Programme

Created through a collaboration between the Education Endowment Foundation, Sutton Trust, Impetus and Nesta, with support from the Department for Education and funders including KPMG Foundation, the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) will give schools the resources they need to address this challenge through two strands:

  • In NTP Partners, schools will be able to access heavily subsided tuition from an approved list of tuition partners. These organisations – who will all be subject to quality and evaluation standards – will be given support and funding to reach many more disadvantaged pupils.
  • In NTP Coaches, trained graduates will by employed by schools in the most disadvantaged areas to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils, allowing teachers in these schools to focus on their classrooms.

Earlier this month, the four organisations launched pilots of four different models of online tuition with support from Wellcome Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Hg Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, the Inflexion Foundation and other funders. The findings from these pilots will feed into the evidence underpinning the National Tutoring Programme.

The National Tutoring Programme will be running an open call to select organisations to deliver the tutoring.

DfE Guidances

School reports on pupil performance – updated guidance

DfE has updated general guidance to confirm regulations have been laid to remove the requirement to report on national curriculum assessments and attendance, and explain the different requirements of annual and school leaver reports. Regulation have been laid and should come into force on 9 July – ahead of the end of term. Guidance on reporting to parents at the end of Key Stage one and two can be found here.

Supporting children and young people with SEND – updated guidance

DfE has updated guidance on supporting children and young people with SEND with a new section to cover the issue of settings requesting medical evidence ahead of re-admission.

Extended powers of the SEND tribunal – trial extended

This guidance on single routes of redress sets out the extended powers and duties in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (First-tier Tribunal Recommendations Power) Regulations 2017. It explains how the appeal process will work, what happens if recommendations are not followed, and the support available for commissioners and families. Further guidance and support for the trial can be found in the SEND national trial toolkit.

What parents and carers need during the COVID-19 outbreak – updated guidance 

DfE has updated guidance for parents and carers – June 2020

Health and Safety Executive – RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has advised that Coronavirus is now RIDDOR reportable (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013), but only in certain circumstances. The reporting requirements relating to cases of, or deaths from, COVID-19 under RIDDOR apply only to occupational exposure, that is, as a result of a person’s work.

You should only make a report under RIDDOR when one of the following circumstances applies:

  • An accident or incident at work has, or could have, led to the release or escape of coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
  • A person at work has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a case of disease.
  • A person at work dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent.

Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care – updated

DfE has updated guidance to clarify PPE advice and changes in access to testing.

Flexibility in welcoming more pupils back to school – amended guidance

Primary and middle schools

DfE has amended the Planning Guidance Primary Schools on how primary schools can use flexibility to welcome back additional pupils this term.

You should still follow the approaches set out in the protective measures guidance and your own risk assessments.

Secondary Planning Guidance

The amended guidance for secondary school provision states that you should not welcome back more children to secondary school at this time, beyond the face-to-face support schools can now offer year 10 and 12 pupils, and provision for vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

According to the guidance, you may invite pupils in other year groups in for a face-to-face meeting before the end of this term, where it would be beneficial, as long as this happens in line with this and wider protective measures guidance, and guidance on the numbers of pupils permitted on-site at any one time.

Schools complaints procedures – amended guidance

DfE recently amended guidance for maintained schools on the procedure for handling complaints during COVID-19. There is separate guidance for academy trusts.

Remote education – summary of guidance and amendments

DfE has amended some of its guidance on remote education. The list below is a summary of guidance and the changes that have been made, where applicable.

Deciding what to teach during a phased return:

Identifying and addressing gaps in pupils’ understanding:

The curriculum and expectations for those groups returning to school

The DfE has updated guidance for parents on the curriculum and expectations of those groups returning to school (section 1.14)

Travelling to school

General guidance on staying safe outside the home is available here.

In the light of this general guidance to the public, the DfE has updated guidance for parents and carers.

When  planning the journey to school, if using public transport, parents are advised that their children should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.

Teaching about mental wellbeing

The DfE has published a training module for teachers which supports the physical health and mental wellbeing section of the statutory relationships, sex and health education curriculum.

Staying safe and children facing additional risks

The government has announced a £7 million which will fund the launch of the See, Hear, Respond service, to provide targeted help to vulnerable children, young people and their families affected by the virus and the measures put in place to stop its spread. The coalition, led by Barnardo’s, will work alongside local authorities, schools, trusts, colleges, police forces, healthcare professionals and other services involved in protecting these children.

NSPCC Stay Safe Assembly: NSPCC has launched its first virtual Speak Out, Stay Safe school assembly, aimed at children and their families. The assembly is available to view on NSPCC’s You Tube channel and on their website.

School governance update

DfE has published the most recent governance update focusing on the role of governance in COVID-19.

Definition of clinically vulnerable

The government has updated the definition of clinically vulnerable people on 31st May.  The DfE’s guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings sets out that staff with conditions that mean they are clinically vulnerable “are advised to take extra care in observing social distancing and should work from home where possible.

Year 11 transition funding for pupils in Alternative Provision

DfE has published new guidance which sets out the financial support available to alternative provision (AP) schools and colleges to support current year 11 students into post-16 education.

Guidance for schools on opening more widely

DfE has made small amendments to the primary school planning guidance to reflect the Prime Minister’s decision to move forward with wider opening of education and childcare settings.

Actions for schools during the Coronavirus – updated guidance (3 June 2020)

DfE has made substantial amendments to guidance for schools on wider opening of educational settings from 1 June and 15 June.

What parents need to know – updated guidance (2 June 2020) 

DfE has updated information on what parents and carers need to know about schools, colleges and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak.

Actions for early years and childcare providers – updated guidance (2 June 2020) 

The guidance has been restructured in line with wider opening, updated content on funding including in relation to the Competition and Markets Authority and insurance, updated content on infection prevention and control, a new section on attendance, new information on the use of community centres and before and after school clubs, a new section of safeguarding and welfare including provisions for children with SEND and a clarification on paediatric first aid certificates.

Early Years Foundation Stage COVID-19 disapplications – amended guidance 

The EYFS disapplications guidance has been updated to reflect wider opening of early years settings from 1 June 2020 and to provide a clarification on progress checks for children aged 2.

Safer travelling – new guidance

As more staff, parents and pupils travel to education settings, general guidance on safer travelling is available here.

DfE has updated guidance on supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and trusts prepare for wider opening.

SAGE modelling and the DfE’s explanatory note 

The official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) paper offers an overview of the modelling and behavioural science responses to scenarios for opening schools more widely.
Papers for the meetings on 30th April and 1st May, most relevant to schools, can be found here.  Also the overview of the modelling and behavioural science responses to scenarios for opening more widely.

The DfE published an explanatory note.

Early years and childcare settings guidance

The government published guidance for early years and childcare settings

Guidance for secondary school provision from 15th June

The Prime Minister announced on Sunday 24th May that it is the government’s intention “from June 15th, for secondary schools to provide some contact for Year 10 and Year 12 students to help them prepare for exams next year, with up to a quarter of these students in at any point.”

The DfE published guidance for secondary school provision from 15th June.

Additional funding for support to those children who most need our care and support

On 22 May 2020, the government announced £16.5 million of additional funding for support to those children who most need our care and support.

Assessment only route to QTS: criteria and supporting advice

The DfE has updated the candidate assessment advice to explain what should happen when candidates’ progress on the Assessment Only route to QTS is interrupted as a consequence of the COVID-19.

The DfE has updated guidance to support teachers to prepare annual reports for parents following the cancellation of this year’s summer exam series and primary assessments.

The DfE has published advice for parents and carers supporting the home learning of secondary school children (year 7 to 11).

The DfE has added additional case studies about adapting teaching practice for remote education. DfE has also updated safeguarding guidance on virtual lessons and live streaming.

The DfE has updated advice on entry requirements (page 9) explaining what should happen when entrants to early years ITT courses are unable to demonstrate the required GCSE equivalent entry standard, as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The DfE has updated guidance on what schools and trusts should be thinking about you plan to open more widely.

Risk assessments (as set out in actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1st June) and related Health and Safety risk assessments should appropriately link into a school trust’s approach to safeguarding and child protection policy. For information on health and safety and advice linked to coronavirus see managing school premises during the coronavirus outbreak and coronavirus information and advice from Health and Safety Executive.

The importance of the ‘hierarchy of controls’ 

These are set out in the guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings. The government recognises that education settings are best placed to understand the risks in their individual circumstances. So, we are being asked for every setting to carry out a risk assessment before opening. CST recommends using the HSE approach to risk assessment.

We are also recommending that there is a process of executive and governance sign off for each primary school site.

DfE Recovery Strategy

An overview of scientific advice and information on COVID-19

Details can be found here. The list of papers from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) released to date is available by following this link, including several schools-related papers. This list will be updated to reflect papers considered at future meetings.

The Secretary of State’s ministerial briefing can be read here . An overview of government policy on scientific advice and information, can be seen here

Planning for primary schools – DfE guidance

The purpose of this guide is to help primary schools prepare for opening from week commending 1st June.

Supplier relief due to COVID-19 (PPN 02/20) 

The government has amended PPN 02/20 to include additional sector guidance for state-funded schools.

Opening schools for more children and young people: initial planning framework for schools in England
initial planning framework.

DfE guidance on actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening

The first in the suite of guidance documents sets out actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening.

Guidance for parents

Alongside the guidance on actions to prepare for opening more widely and protective measures, the DfE also published last night guidance for parents.

Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak- updated guidance

DfE has substantially amended guidance on actions for schools during COVID-19 – the schools’ FAQ.

Additional funding to support children with complex needs

The government has announced this morning a £37m package of funding through Family Fund to support children with complex needs. Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities will receive grants for equipment to make their lives easier while implementing social distancing measures, including computers, specialist equipment and educational toys.

Statutory sick pay relief

The government has updated guidance on financial support for education settings to clarify statutory sick pay relief.

Managing school premises during COVID-19 – updated guidance

The DfE has amended guidance on managing during premises, adding information on preparing for the wider opening of schools including guidance on water systems, ventilation, fire safety and cleaning.

Update to coronavirus symptoms

The Chief Medical Officer has made a statement updating on the coronavirus symptoms. From today, all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia. Anosmia is the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste.

Updated guidance on free school meals

DfE has updated guidance on the provision of free school meals during the coronavirus outbreak to reflect the plans for the wider opening of schools from 1st June, at the earliest. Pupils returning to school from 1st June who are in reception and year 1 should have the option of a free meal under the universal infant free school meals policy.

Induction for newly qualified teachers during the coronavirus outbreak

Initial Teacher Training (ITT) – updated guidance

DfE has updated guidance on ITT to confirm arrangements for trainees not recommended for qualified teacher status (QTS) in the 2019 to 2020 academic year.

Funding is available for trainees and providers where courses extend owing to coronavirus (COVID-19).

DfE has updated mandatory guidance on criteria and supporting advice based on current public health advice, to help ITT providers reduce the impact of COVID-19 on their ITT provision.

DfE has also updated general guidance, based on current public health advice, to help  ITT providers reduce the impact of COVID-19 on their ITT provision. Note that the arrangements set out in this guidance are subject to secondary legislation. DfE has laid the necessary regulations and these are now in force as of 21 May 2020.

This guidance has been updated to reflect the new regulations.

Keeping children safe – new guidance and expanded NSPCC helpline

The government has published guidance on safeguarding and remote education.

Expanded NSPCC helpline: Adults can contact the helpline by phone or online to get advice or share their concerns about a child, anonymously if they wish.

Supporting the attendance of vulnerable children and young people – updated guidance

The DfE has published clarifications to the existing guidance including the actions to be taken for each group around their attendance.

Risk Assessments

Risk protection arrangements for schools and trust

SEND risk assessments – new guidance

DfE  –  new guidance on SEND risk assessments.

COVID-19 – getting tested

Any essential worker with symptoms, and people who live with essential workers and have symptoms who needs a test, are able to book a test. More information can be found here. Tests can be booked here.

Government funding for online learning platforms

Schools and trusts can get government-funded support to be set up on one of two free-to-use digital education platforms – G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. If your school, trust or any of your schools are eligible for this funding (i.e. you do not currently have an existing Google Classroom/Microsoft Education platform that you are using to deliver remote learning for pupils at home), please go to this website provided by The Key to enter your details.

RM, one of CST’s platinum Partners, has launched a new web-page that lists some of the questions that schools and trusts should ask when making this choice. I’m pleased to say that RM is also one of a small number of providers that you have the option of choosing to install the platform for you. They have also said they will be happy to help you assess whether you are eligible.

Institute for Fiscal Studies report – learning during lockdown

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has published a report on the impact of the lockdown arrangements on children’s experience during home learning.

The Department for Education has launched a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)


Risk Protections Arrangements (RPA) – guidance in relation to COVID-19

The RPA has published guidance in relation to COVID-19 which can be downloaded from their website.

The RPA has provided a series of workshops for RPA members and there are filmed versions available on the RPA portal as well as via YouTube.


StarLine home learning helpline

Starlive will be talking about supporting children to deal with bereavement. Next week’s episode will air live on YouTube at the usual time of 8.30am on Wednesday. All episodes of StarLive are available on the StarLine website.

Star’s reopening schools toolkit now has another eight resources including health and safety risk assessment, equality impact assessment, health assessments, transition guidance, behaviour policy addendum.

StarLine YouTube channel

StarLine is a new home learning telephone helpline to support parents and carers nationwide.

StarLine is available to parents and carers of pupils from all schools nationwide. Free, confidential advice is available six days a week by phoning the StarLine team on 0330 313 9162. For more information, visit www.starline.org.uk or follow @StarLineSupport on Twitter.

If you are interested in becoming a StarLine partner please email linda.thompson@staracademies.org or sophie.backen@staracademies.org for further details.



Ofqual letter to Heads of Centre

On 18 June, Ofqual published an open letter from Sally Collier, Chief Regulator, to Heads of Centres. The letter reflects Ofqual’s recognition of the part that Heads of Centres, and their staff, are playing in securing results for learners across the range of qualifications.

Ofqual’s Guidance to Centres and the broader range of information relating to arrangements for awarding qualifications this summer can be found on Ofqual’s website.

Updates and decisions from Ofqual and DfE on arrangements for awarding grades and the Autumn series 

Ofqual statement, analysis and decisions in response to the consultation on exceptional arrangements for awarding GCSEs, AS, A levels, Extended Project Qualification and Advanced Extension Award in maths.

Ofqual has also published an infographic on the process for awarding GCSEs, AS and A levels summer 2020 and updated information for students and schools and colleges films.

Ofqual is launching a consultation on the Autumn services. The closing date is 8th June. If you wish to provide a response to the consultation, Ofqual asks that you use the online response form.

Ofqual has also updated Guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers and Information for Heads of Centre, Heads of Department and teachers on the submission of Centre assessment grades.

Ofqual also published the consultation decisions on the assessment and grading of vocational, technical and other general qualifications.

The DfE has also published guidance for centre on their responsibility for autumn GCSE, AS and A level exam series. This sets out expectations for centres on who should be responsible for entering candidates for autumn exams. (can you pop this  guidance on the DfE page too)

Ofqual guidance on awarding qualifications in summer 2020 – amended guidance

Ofqual has amended information for heads of centre, heads of department and teachers on objectivity in grading and ranking when awarding grades for GCSE, AS and A levels in summer 2020.

On 15 May 2020, Ofqual published a blog on Making grades as fair as they can be: advice for schools and colleges and additional information for Heads of Centre, Heads of Department and teachers on objectivity in grading and ranking.

Ofqual also published Guidance for Centres – The awarding of vocational and technical qualifications, and other general qualifications, in summer 2020.

Ofqual has published a blog on arrangements for summer 2020. They’ve also published a short film for teachers and another for students to help everyone understand the process better.

Ofqual has published guidance setting out details about how GCSEs, AS and A levels will be awarded this summer and published further guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers.

Ofqual guidance – Summer 2020 grades for GCSE, AS and A level, Extended Project Qualification and Advanced Extension Award in maths

CST’s Platinum Partners are also offering help to CST members – please visit here.