DfE COVID-19 Update

This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Associate Director for Children and Families, Michael Jarrett on behalf of the DfE, for the attention of all education settings.

This update contains information on:

  • School attendance expectations
  • Reminder for schools and colleges to complete the educational setting status form
  • Webinar on preparing for autumn term for all education settings
  • The remote education temporary continuity direction for schools

Information on School attendance expectations

School attendance is mandatory and the usual rules continue to apply, including:

  • Parents' duty to ensure that their child attends regularly at school, where the child is a registered pupil at school
  • Schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
  • The ability for schools and local authorities to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct

To promote excellent attendance this term, we expect schools and local authorities to continue to:

  • Communicate clear and consistent expectations around attendance to families
  • Identify pupils who are reluctant or anxious about attending or who are at risk of disengagement and develop plans to re-engage them, especially those who are persistently absent or at risk of persistent absence
  • Use the additional recovery funding, attendance staff, resources and pupil premium funding, as well as existing pastoral and support services, to put measures in place for those families who will need additional support to secure pupils’ regular attendance
  • Work closely with other professionals to support regular attendance

We have updated our guidance setting out how schools should record where pupils do not attend school this academic year for reasons related to COVID-19 (code X).

Schools may also find it helpful to refer to our published best practice advice.

Reminder to Complete the Educational Setting Status Form for Schools and Colleges

Schools and colleges are asked to resume completing the educational setting status form from the start of the autumn term. Please complete the form each day by 2pm.

We are asking you to continue to submit your attendance data daily throughout September, so we can monitor attendance in schools and colleges after the summer break.

We have made some changes to the form to align with the latest guidance for schools and colleges, however this does not impact the way that you complete the form. We have updated the questions on COVID-19 related absence and have added a new set of questions about managing COVID-19 in your school or college.

Further information on completing the educational setting status form, including an updated set of attendance sub-codes, can be found in our guidance.

Webinar on Preparing for Autumn Term for all Education Settings

The Department for Education has recorded a webinar explaining the changes that came into effect from Step 4 of the roadmap (Monday 19 July). This webinar provides an update on testing, latest contingency planning, and COVID-19 management advice.

It is a useful additional tool for all education settings and complements existing guidance. The webinar can be found on the document sharing platform titled ‘Ref RP158 preparing for autumn term’.

Remote Education Temporary Continuity Direction for Schools

School attendance is mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age. However, we recognise that COVID-19 may cause further disruption this academic year, with some pupils not able to attend school if they test positive for COVID-19, or if wider attendance restrictions need to be reintroduced.

We have therefore issued a new remote education temporary continuity direction for academic year 2021/22, which places the same requirements on schools as the direction from last academic year 2020/21.

Schools affected by the temporary continuity direction must provide remote education for state-funded, school-aged pupils whose attendance would be contrary to local public health advice or UK central government guidance or law relating to COVID-19. Schools must also have regard to the expectations for remote education, which remain the same as last academic year.

A comprehensive package of support continues to be available to help schools meet the remote education expectations on Get Help with Remote Education.

As of this week, support now includes access to a new grant which schools can use to support pupils with internet access when learning from home and case studies on how schools have approached educating pupils both onsite and remotely.

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.

Department for Education Guidance

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic can be accessed using the links below: