Coronavirus Information 21st April 2020

21st April 2020

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

Reducing burdens on educational and care settings

To help reduce the burden on your setting at this time, we have cancelled or paused all but the most essential data collections, services, and requests from education and care settings until the end of June 2020.

Further information and a full list of data collection changes for the remainder of the academic year can be found here:

If you have any questions, please email

New guidance on the temporary extension of free school meals eligibility

We are temporarily extending free school meal eligibility to include children from some groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). This guidance explains who is eligible and how schools can confirm eligibility and award free school meals.

The guidance can be found here:

Guidance for Tier 4 sponsors and for short-term study students

The Home Office has published guidance that sets out temporary policy concessions for Tier 4 sponsors, Tier 4 students and short-term study students in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This guidance includes information on student absences, distance learning, permitted study and extending short-term study leave for international students.

This guidance can be found here:

The information below has not changed since yesterday.

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours:
8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when outside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found at:

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

Resources are currently available for KS1, KS2 and KS3 and can be used in various settings including schools and at home:

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.​UK

All of the Department for Education’s coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.​UK at:

Our main guidance for schools, the ‘school closures guidance’, will be regularly kept up-to-date. Any new advice for schools on specific issues, such as food, exams or safeguarding, will be linked from it: