The announcement on Monday 4th January about the 2021 national lockdown, has raised many questions that need to be considered. Much of the planning for schools will relate back to the lockdown in March, although the expectation on schools to deliver remote learning was not as prominent during that time. As you work through your planning for establishing the structure for this lockdown there are some initial actions that we would like school leaders to consider.
Key information for education
- Lockdown starts Tuesday 5th January 2021
- All schools to move to remote learning except for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils
- End of key stage 4 and 5 national examinations will not go ahead as previously planned – further details to be announced
- Early Years settings can stay open
Full lockdown guidance can be found here
Key Workers and Vulnerable children
Schools should remain open to children of Key Workers and vulnerable pupils. Please find below the latest list of critical workers and vulnerable children – updated 31st December.
Buckinghamshire Council require only one parent to be a key worker for their children to access schools over this period.
Free School Meals (FSM)
Pupils who are entitled to Free School Meals should still be able to access a resource during lockdown. We would ask schools to consider urgent temporary arrangements whilst we rapidly review options for broader local systems and seek clarity from the DfE on any national plans. We would anticipate that because payments have already been made to schools for the delivery of FSM, the cost for any delivery mechanism would need to be met by the school.
This further lockdown may result in parents losing jobs and an increase in families needing to apply for FSM. We would recommend that you highlight your school’s procedure on claiming FSM to parents in early communications and that you refer to it regularly over the coming weeks.
Schools must move to remote learning, a strong action plan is needed that meets the Government guidance. School leaders should ensure that remote learning opportunities for those who are at home are of a high quality.
The Government has released several documents guiding schools on this:
- Remote education Expectations can be found here
- Remote education good practice – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Get help with remote education – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Remote education webinars – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
We have also created some top tips on meeting both staff and students safely online. Click here.
Please see attached to this email a document that was sent out just before Christmas to support your planning of remote learning.
Family circumstances may have changed over the Christmas period, so where pupils are unable to access the necessary technology, schools should contact DfE via portal in order to secure the correct equipment for their children. Information on getting technology for children in need can be found here.
The areas identified above are a long way from an exhaustive list, and schools should refer to information on schoolsweb to support further planning. There are many issues, such as KS1 & 2 testing, for which we will be seeking clarification over the coming days.
Clearly this is a challenging time for everyone and we are committed to supporting schools to achieve the best outcomes possible for pupils. We will be looking at several pieces of work to further support you and will be communicating them to you over the next few days. Please feel free to message us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further support.