Coronavirus Information 23rd March 2020

23rd March 2020

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

Guidance on what schools will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have published new guidance for schools about temporarily closing and the principles we’d like all schools to follow:

Guidance on vulnerable children and young people

New guidance has been published answering some of your frequently asked questions about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people. This covers children and young people:

  • supported by the child social care system
  • with education health and care (EHC) plans
  • in alternative provision (AP) settings

You can access the guidance at:

Guidance on isolation for residential educational settings

We have also published guidance about isolation for residential educational settings:

The guidance supports the management of children and young people in residential educational settings, including boarding schools, residential special schools and specialist colleges and children’s homes.

How to submit the daily online attendance return to DfE

We are asking most educational settings to temporarily change their attendance recording practices. These settings are asked to complete a short online form by 12:00 each weekday, notifying the Department for Education about their status regarding COVID-19.

A record of attendance spreadsheet, which will help you calculate the numbers we require for the online form, can be downloaded from the first link below. This spreadsheet itself does not need to be submitted.

The record of attendance spreadsheet, and a list of which educational settings need to complete the online form, is available at:

The online form, that most educational settings are asked to complete, can be found at:

Cyber security guidance to ensure your school’s IT teams and providers are prepared for an increase in home working

The National Cyber Security Centre has published new guidance which:

  • recommends cyber security steps to take if your organisation is introducing (or scaling up the amount of) home working
  • provides tips on how individuals can work more securely from home

You can access the guidance for IT staff at:

You can access the guidance for all education staff at:

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.​UK

All of our coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.​UK:

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

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

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 to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.

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