Guidance for opening schools in September

Follow the link for the Department for Education’s (DfE) Guidance for full opening of schools in September.

Whilst the guidance acknowledges that as increasing numbers of schools have been welcoming back more pupils since 1 June, schools have already been busy assessing risk and implementing proportionate control measures to reduce the risk of infection on school premises. However it stresses it is a legal requirement to revisit and update that risk assessment for autumn term planning.

Attendance for pupils will once again be mandatory from September. On staffing, the guidance states from September the DfE expects that most staff will attend school, with the relaxation of shielding measures, including those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable being advised they can return to work from 1st August. However those in the most at risk categories are advised to take particular care while community transmission rates continue to fall, School  leaders are urged to be flexible with how these staff are deployed. 

The guidance specifies that the curriculum should remain both broad and ambitious, and that means a wide range of subjects continue to be  taught, and where remote education continues to be needed, it is of high quality and aligns closely with in-school provision. This means schools will need to continue to develop their capacity and that of pupils to engage in remote education where it is necessary. 

The intention is also stated for routine inspection to resume from January 2021, meaning inspections will remain suspended during the autumn term. Instead,  inspectors will be visiting a sample of schools, through a one day visit, to discuss how they are managing return to education. These will be collaborative discussions, taking into account the curriculum and remote education expectations.  While the visits will not result in formal judgements, “a brief letter” will be published following the visit, although at this stage it is not clear exactly what will be included, and how schools will be held to account with what the letter includes.