Coronavirus Information 10th December 2020

10th December 2020

This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Department for Education exam support service – claim process now open

The Department for Education exam support service claims process is now open. Full details of the costs that are covered by the service are set out in the Department for Education exam support service guidance. This guidance also provides information on eligibility and how to make a claim.

Schools and colleges can use the service to make a claim to cover costs, including:

  • any net loss for exam fees charged by awarding organisations
  • venues for alternative sites (externally booked)
  • any net loss for invigilation (externally sourced)

The deadline for submitting a claim is 6 April 2021.

Hosting trainee teachers in your school in the 2020 / 2021 academic year

We strongly encourage schools to consider hosting trainee teachers this academic year. Initial teacher training (ITT) providers are currently seeking placements for modern foreign languages and science, including biology trainees, particularly in areas such as Bradford, Hull, London and Sheffield.

Trainees are critical workers and can potentially play a significant role in supporting schools. Information on the roles that trainees can play in schools can be found in the guidance for schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Temporary relaxations to the initial teacher training (ITT) criteria mean that placements are more flexible than ever, so there is scope to agree an arrangement that suits your school.

If you would like to host trainees, please contact itt.policy@education.gov.uk and we will share your email with providers in your area where possible. Alternatively you can contact providers directly by using the find teacher training website.

Update on school laptops and tablets allocations

Following the improved flow of stock internationally and the purchase of an additional 96,000 laptops this term, school device allocations will now be returned to original levels.

You may recall that during October we temporarily adjusted schools’ allocations to reflect the flow of stock available. Adjusting allocations ensured that devices reached as many children as possible when they needed them most, and as a result we have been able to continue delivering laptops and tablets to those young people throughout this term.

We’re making this change for all schools, trusts and local authorities in the coming days. Anyone invited to order from today will be able to get their original allocation from our Get help with technology service.

You will not be able to place orders for devices over Christmas.

Schools have told us they will not be open to receive deliveries during the Christmas break, therefore we will accept device orders up until 4pm on Thursday 17 December. We’ll then close ordering until Monday 4 January.

If you place an order next week, your school must be able to receive devices until 6pm on Friday 18 December.

Guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings

We have updated the guidance for the full opening of special schools and other specialist settings to include the exit from national restrictions and the minimum expectations for remote education for children with SEND.

The information below has not changed since our last update

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline – holiday hours

The DfE coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) will be available over the holidays to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care. These helplines will, however, close on the bank holidays, and have shortened opening hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

24 December – 8am to 4pm
25 to 28 December – Closed
29 to 30 December – 8am to 6pm
31 December – 9am to 4pm
1 January – Closed
2 to 3 January – 10am to 6pm

Until 24 December, the helpline opening hours are:

Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm

Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.

Please select option 1 or 2 if you require specific advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting. This option will take you through to a dedicated team of NHS Business Services Authority advisors who will work through a risk assessment with you to identify close contacts and will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice.

Please select option 3 or 4 for any other questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Look up your unique organisation number (UON)

If you have not received your unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits you can look it up using your unique reference number (URN) or your UK provider reference number (UKPRN) or by calling the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.

Department for Education guidance

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below: