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Latest Government advice and guidance on COVID-19

27th April 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing extended to all essential workers who have symptoms

The Government has announced that all essential workers in England and Scotland, and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can now be tested. This list of essential workers includes education and childcare staff: support and teaching staff, social workers and specialist education professionals in addition to social care staff. Booking is done through a new online system. Employers can register and refer self-isolating staff, and employees are able to book a test directly for themselves or members of their household who are exhibiting symptoms. Employees can choose to visit one of the drive-through testing sites across the country, or to receive a home testing kit. To obtain a login to the employer referral portal, employers of essential workers should contact: Full details can be found here: ·

Ofqual update on examinations

Since the Secretary of State announced that the 2020 exam series in England would be cancelled to help fight the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Ofqual has developed a process which will fairly recognise students’ work and make sure they get their grades in time to progress. Ofqual has today set out how GCSEs, AS and A levels will be awarded this summer and published further guidance for education staff, students, parents and carers. For this summer’s awards, schools and colleges are being asked to provide centre assessment grades for their students. These should be fair, objective and carefully considered judgements of the grades schools and colleges believe their students would have been most likely to achieve if they had sat their exams and should take into account the full range of available evidence. Ofqual has published a message to students to reassure them that they, and exam boards, will do everything they can to make sure that, as far as possible, grades are fair and that students are not disadvantaged because of this unprecedented situation. Guidance from Ofqual on how qualifications will be graded and awarded in summer 2020 can be found here:

Summer 2020 exams and school/college accountability

The department has confirmed that it will not hold schools or colleges to account on the basis of exams and assessment data from summer 2020, and that others, such as Ofsted and local authorities, should adopt the same approach. We will not be publishing, or sharing, institution-level school and college accountability measures, such as Progress 8 and Level 3 Value Added, using the summer 2020 data. We have set out details of statistical publications that will not be released this year and will be providing a further update for settings in due course. Updates on forthcoming statistical publications can be found here:

Guidance on implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings

On 24 March, we published new guidance on how to implement social distancing in education and childcare settings.
This guidance also gives advice for individuals in vulnerable health groups:


It is important to read this alongside the overall guidance for social distancing:


School governance update

We have published an update about school governance which includes guidance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19):


Guidance for commercial suppliers

You may be aware that Cabinet Office has issued guidance on providing support to suppliers during and after coronavirus (COVID-19).
A Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 220 sets out information and guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity:

We are aware of the high number of requests you have already had from your suppliers requesting support in line with the PPN. Please make sure you are familiar with this guidance before agreeing any support with your suppliers. Contracting authorities, including the Department for Education (DfE), are considering how to respond to suppliers at risk, so that they are in a position to resume normal contract delivery once the outbreak is over. We are working to provide more detailed advice and guidance to you on what this means for the suppliers that support you.
Please direct any questions to the DfE Commercial team by emailing:

Resources for educational settings

We have updated our guidance for schools and other educational settings on how best to provide advice about coronavirus (COVID-19). A new poster resource is now available:


Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.UK

All of the Department for Education’s coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.UK: ·

We have published new guidance for schools about temporarily closing and the principles we’d like all schools to follow:


Staying at home guidance

Yesterday, the Prime Minister addressed the nation on coronavirus (COVID-19) and asked people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes. There is no change in guidance for education settings, which remain closed except for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children. We continue to ask that parents keep their children at home, wherever possible. The full stay at home guidance is available at: ·

Guidance on vulnerable children and young people

New guidance has been published answering some of your frequently asked questions about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people.
This covers children and young people:
· supported by the child social care system
· with education health and care (EHC) plans
· in alternative provision (AP) settings

You can access the guidance at:

Guidance on isolation for residential educational settings

We have also published guidance about isolation for residential educational settings: · The guidance supports the management of children and young people in residential educational settings, including boarding schools, residential special schools and specialist colleges and children’s homes.

How to submit the daily online attendance return to DfE

We are asking most educational settings to temporarily change their attendance recording practices. These settings are asked to complete a short online form by 12:00 each weekday, notifying the Department for Education about their status regarding COVID-19. A record of attendance spreadsheet, which will help you calculate the numbers we require for the online form, can be downloaded from the first link below. This spreadsheet itself does not need to be submitted.
The record of attendance spreadsheet, and a list of which educational settings need to complete the online form, is available at:

The online form, that most educational settings are asked to complete, can be found at: ·

Cyber security guidance to ensure your school’s IT teams and providers are prepared for an increase in home working

The National Cyber Security Centre has published new guidance which:
· recommends cyber security steps to take if your organisation is introducing (or scaling up the amount of) home working
· provides tips on how individuals can work more securely from home

You can access the guidance for IT staff at:
You can access the guidance for all education staff at:

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.UK

All of our coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.UK:

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water.

Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found here:


Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care.

Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.

Guidance for early years and childcare providers

We have published new guidance for Ofsted-registered childcare providers about childcare provision following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19): ·

Guidance for further education providers on maintaining education and skills training provision

We have published new guidance which explains what further education providers need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to maintain provision: ·

Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations

We have published new guidance which outlines the changes that we are making to the apprenticeship programme during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: ·

Employer support in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government has published a full range of support measures for UK employers and employees: · The information outlines how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

Previously published information

Guidance for households with symptoms:

Government guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

·if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started

·if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community

·for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

The symptoms are:
·A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
·A new, continuous cough

The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here: ·

The Prime Minister’s statement from Monday 16 March can be found here: ·

You do not need to call NHS 111 to stay at home. If your symptoms worsen during your stay at home period or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online at If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.Department for Education Coronavirus helpline.

Temporary suspension of Ofsted inspections

Ofsted is to temporarily suspend routine inspections of schools, colleges, early years settings, children’s social care providers and local authorities to reduce the burden on staff who are providing vital services to the nation in response to coronavirus.

The current medical and scientific advice is for schools and other educational establishments to stay open. If this changes and the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser say closing schools, colleges, and early years settings is in the best interests of children and teachers the Department will take that step.

The full announcement made by Gavin Williamson can be viewed here:

COVID-19 travel guidance for the education sector

The Government has issued new travel guidance for the education sector. This advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18. This does not apply to domestic trips, or overseas trips which are already underway.

The full guidance can be found here: ·

Handwashing advice

Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance:

Teach young children how to wash their hands with the NHS handwashing song:

Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

Where to find the latest information

Updates on COVID-19:

Guidance for educational settings: ·

Guidance for social or community care and residential settings: ·

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas: ·

Educational resources: · ·

Latest Department for Education information: · ·

Exam preparation and Ofqual advice

We recognise that students, parents, schools and colleges will be concerned about the possible impact of coronavirus on the 2020 summer exam series. Ofqual’s advice at this time is to continue to prepare for exams and other assessments as normal. Ofqual continues to work closely with exam boards, other regulators and the Department for Education to plan for a range of scenarios, as the public would expect. Our overriding priorities are fairness to students this summer and keeping disruption to a minimum. It is still many weeks until exams start and we will issue updated advice if necessary, giving schools and colleges as much notice as possible. The latest updates from Ofqual can be found here: ·

The importance of hygiene

Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.

Please help us in sharing simple and effective hand hygiene messages: ·

Public Health England has a dedicated webpage with a range of posters and digital materials at: · https://campaignresources.phe....

Today, we have launched a new 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: Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

  • No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless directed to do so by Public Health England.

The importance of hygiene

Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19. Please help us in sharing simple and effective hand hygiene messages.

Public Health England has a dedicated webpage with a range of posters and digital materials at:

Sign up is quick, free and means you will be alerted as more resources are made available.

New guidance for employers

The Department for Business (BEIS) and Public Health England have issued guidance for employers, which you can find at: