Start of the Spring Term


Dear Colleagues,

I am sure you will have seen the announcement from the government today regarding the start of term and changes that need to be made in light of the national situation regarding the start of the spring term. I know that you will be working hard to understand how this affects you and your school. We have reviewed the announcement and believe the implications for schools are as follows:

Primary Schools

Week beginning 4th January – Schools are expected to resume face to face teaching from the 4th January as planned. Schools should review their risk assessments to ensure that they are robust and are being followed in the classroom and in all other areas of the school. Testing of staff in primary schools is likely to start before the end of the month, when we have more information on this we will share with school leaders and offer support at that time.

Secondary Schools

Week beginning 4th January – only vulnerable pupils and children of keyworkers should attend, for all other pupils as far as possible there should be remote learning, with pupils who are in exam year groups receiving as close to normal lessons as possible remotely. Testing resources are due to be delivered on the 4th January and schools should prepare to test all staff as soon as is practicable. Pupils in Years 11 & 13 should be bought in for testing during this week.

Week beginning 11th January –  vulnerable pupils and children of keyworkers should continue to attend school with pupils in Years 11 & 13 attending too. Pupils in other year groups should be bought in for testing during this week and continue to be educated remotely.

Week beginning 18th January – all pupils should be attending face to face education. Staff should be tested weekly as well as contacts of any positive cases.

Special Schools

All pupils in special schools, due to the fact that they have EHCPs, are classified as vulnerable. Schools should therefore be preparing to re-open fully to pupils from the 4th January, allowing for any INSET days that are already planned. Shielding advice is currently in place in tier 4 areas, and so all children and young people still deemed clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school. Guidance specifies:

Those who remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional at their next planned clinical appointment – more advice is available from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Schools should keep a record of, and monitor engagement with this activity but this does not need to be formally recorded in the attendance register.

For pupils who are self-isolating, or shielding and are within our definition of vulnerable, it is important that schools put systems in place to keep in contact with them, offer pastoral support, and check they are able to access education support. Our published definition of vulnerable children includes children and young people who have a social worker or an education health and care (EHC) plan or those who are deemed otherwise vulnerable by the school or the local authority.


Guidance states that:

In local restriction tier 4 areas, individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home and where this is not possible, they should not go into work. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP and may have been advised to shield in the past, most recently in November 2020.

Staff should talk to their employers about how they will be supported, including to work from home where possible. Schools should continue to pay clinically extremely vulnerable staff on their usual terms.

All other staff in local restriction tier 4 can continue to attend work, including those living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Remote Learning

We sent out a Remote Learning Guidance and Template last week which we hope will be a useful aide memoire to use when reviewing the quality of your remote learning provision.  I have attached this again for your convenience.

Remote Learning Guidance and Template FINAL

The School Improvement Team will be here if we can support you in any way, please contact the team by emailing  We are awaiting additional information from the government on mass testing in schools, following the announcement of the deployment of armed forces support for schools yesterday, and will send information as soon as it becomes available. We know that this is a very difficult time and that information is coming out very rapidly, thank you for your professionalism and


Please remember to log your partial closure on SchoolsWeb, instructions are at the bottom of this email.

Warm regards,

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Achievement and Learning

How to log an partial closure via SchoolsWeb


  1. Log into SchoolsWeb and click ‘Emergencies’ from the
  2. Click on ‘Register a Closure’ to go to the Closures
  3. On the form, under ‘Add new closure’, fill in the closure’s dates; this defaults to the current day, returning to normal the next
  4. Select the Status: this creates an automatic headline to indicate the reason for a


Please select:  Partially closed – specific circumstances

Use the following (or similar) wording:

Following Government guidance we will be open only for children of Key Workers, pupils with an EHCP and vulnerable pupils from the 4(5)th (delete as appropriate) January.  For pupils eligible for Free School Meals our arrangements during this time can be found at <insert link here>.

Please revise this on a weekly basis until the 18th . We would recommend that you set a reminder to yourself to review it the day before.


King Regards


Gareth Drawmer