Teacher Bulletin: a roundup of the latest coronavirus advice and guidance

Teacher Bulletin


Government review into sexual abuse in schools

You have undoubtedly been deeply troubled by reports of the sexual abuse and harassment young people have suffered at school and in the community that have come to light this week. Sexual abuse in any form is abhorrent and it is vital that these allegations are dealt with properly. We are taking immediate action:

  • A new NSPCC dedicated helpline will provide support and guidance to any victims of sexual abuse in schools. This includes how to contact the police and report crimes if they wish.
  • Ofsted will undertake an immediate review of safeguarding policies in state and independent schools. The review will look at the extent and the severity of the issue and ensure schools have appropriate processes in place to allow pupils to report concerns freely, knowing these will be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

Young people and adults can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0800 136 663. Read more about this announcement on GOV.UK

Updated guidance for awarding qualifications in 2021

The Joint Council for Qualifications has recently published additional guidance and supporting documentation to help teachers make assessments of their students. This will support teachers while maximising consistency and fairness for students. It follows our February announcement on the alternative arrangements for awarding qualifications in 2021.

We trust teachers in their decision making and want students and their parents or carers to be confident that they will receive grades that enable them to move on to the next stage of their lives.


Ofsted’s plans for the coming months

Ofsted has set out further detail of its plans for the summer term, covering the full range of its inspection activity, including state and independent schools, further education providers, early years and initial teacher training.

Ofsted will step up its inspection programme over the summer term, with a view to returning to a full programme of inspections from September 2021. During the summer term, the majority of Ofsted’s activity will continue to be lighter-touch monitoring inspections, as has been the case since January.

The importance of COVID-19 home testing over Easter

Following schools’ and colleges’ success in COVID-19 testing on return to education, it is vital for staff, secondary and college students and their families, to keep testing at home throughout the Easter holidays and into the summer term. We would appreciate your continued support sharing the following important messages with your school community:

  • all staff, secondary and college students and their households should continue to test twice weekly over the Easter holidays
  • report results online whether they are positive, negative or void. This information is critical in helping understand the prevalence of the virus across the country
  • remember to test just before returning to school or college for the summer term either the night before, or morning of, the first day back to find and isolate any positive cases

There are different ways for a household, childcare or support bubble to access twice-weekly, regular testing at home, and there is more information on how households of staff and pupils can collect or order tests here.

Further support for support schools and colleges

We’ve pulled together some further information from recent announcements and updates below to support you and your staff plan for the summer term. 

  • We’ve produced a leaflet to support your conversations with clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) families who may be feeling anxious about the changing guidance for CEV people. From Thursday 1 April, CEV people are no longer advised to shield, meaning CEV children should attend school or college unless they are one of the very small number of children under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend.
  • New guidance and funding for summer schools is available for secondary schools to help progress plans after the Easter break. These can be designed for pupils who have experienced the most disruption as a result of the pandemic, with the guidance providing advice on issues ranging from enrichment and sporting activities to mental health support and accessing appropriate premises.
  • The Holiday Activity and Food programme launches in every council across the country during the Easter holidays, in line with the remaining national restrictions. The programme is targeted primarily at those who are eligible for free school meals, making sure the most disadvantaged children can make the most of the school holidays.
  • We’ve published updated guidance for schools and local authorities on how to use their Pupil Premium funding