Updated guidance to support schools reopening from 1 June – Friday 22 May 2020

This week I report on updated guidance from the DfE supporting the Government’s continued desire for a phased reopening of schools from 1 June, the recording of a free webinar for governors on safeguarding during this pandemic, funding for a project to place social workers in schools to work with teaching staff and the announcement of an emergency fund to support home education for pupils with SEND.

Updated DfE guidance to support schools reopening from 1 June and scientific evidence underpinning this decision
Amid much media speculation on whether the Government will be able to meet its five key tests by 28 May, the day it makes its final decision on whether to reopen schools from 1 June, the DfE continues to update some of its guidance to help schools as they plan for more children to return. In particular, safeguarding guidance and procedures for planning remote education strategies and teaching remotely have been updated, as well as new guidance on writing end of year reports following the cancellation of this year’s summer exam series and primary assessments.

It has also published information for parents and carers on how they can support their children’s home learning whether they are in primary or secondary school.

The scientific evidence underpinning the Government’s decision to reopen schools to more pupils from 1 June is expected to be published today. However, some schools and academy trusts have already indicated they are taking a cautious approach and will only reopen when they believe it is safe to do so.

Recording of a free webinar on safeguarding during the coronavirus pandemic
As reported in last week’s Update, Governors for Schools in conjunction with Better Governor hosted a free webinar yesterday on safeguarding during the current pandemic. You can use this link to view the recording of the webinar.

Social workers to work with teachers in schools
At yesterday’s Hidden Harms Summit in Downing Street the Education Secretary announced nearly £10 million for projects aimed at boosting the educational outcomes of vulnerable children, and to keep them safe from harm.

This included £6.5 million to involve more than 150 schools in a project that will place social workers in schools to work with teaching staff, reflecting that the second largest source of referrals to children’s social services is schools (18%).

£10 million fund launched to support home education for pupils with SEND
The Government has set up an emergency £10 million fund to help around 19,000 children with special education needs with home education to spend on a variety of equipment including computers and educational toys. The announcement comes alongside confirmation the £26 million Family Fund (providing grants to low income families with seriously ill or disabled children to help with the cost of equipment, good or services) will continue next academic year.