Coronavirus Information 28th Septmeber 2020

28th September 2020

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

New legal duty to self-isolate comes into force today

From today, people in England will be required by law to self-isolate if they test positive or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. This law has been introduced to ensure compliance with self-isolation rules and to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Fines will also be introduced from today for those breaching self-isolation rules, starting at £1,000, in line with the existing penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel. This could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and the most serious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.

Employers who force or allow staff to come to work who they know should be self-isolating will also be liable for fines of up to £10,000.

Remote education webinars for primary and secondary school leaders

This week, the Department for Education is offering several school-led webinars on remote education to help share good practice with school leaders in primary and secondary schools. This is to support schools that are looking for help to improve the quality of their remote education provision in line with the expectations set out in the actions for schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance.

School leaders will be sharing what has worked for them in getting their schools set up to deliver remote education. The webinars will last for 45 minutes and presenters will also answer questions from the audience.

Schools can attend the webinars using the Microsoft Teams links below:

Each webinar is limited to a capacity of 10,000 viewers, however if you are unable to attend, recordings of each webinar will be available to watch after the live events through the Department for Education YouTube channel.

October school census

Every school in England has a statutory duty to complete the school census each term. Schools must provide pupil level data for pupils who are recorded on the school admission register as at census day (Thursday 1 October), irrespective of whether they attend school on that day. Therefore, pupils who are absent from school on census day, whether the absence is coronavirus (COVID-19) related or for other reasons, should be counted in your school’s census return in the usual way.

Current funding allocation through the national funding formula (NFF) and the pupil premium is calculated based on the number of pupils on roll and is not affected by pupil non-attendance on census day. However, the universal infant free school meals funding stream is dependent on whether a pupil attends school on census day.

The universal infant free school meals funding stream uses the variable ‘school lunch taken’, which is collected in relation to pupils in years reception, years 1 and 2 (or aged 4-6 in year group X) and indicates whether a pupil has taken a school lunch on census day. If your school has coronavirus (COVID-19) related absences and the ‘school lunches taken’ number is affected, you can substitute this for a day and time when the situation is regarded as normal. You can use the next normal day, an earlier day in census week or another day that reflects the normal situation. Where other days or times are used, you must record these for audit purposes.

There are some scenarios which do not qualify as an unusual circumstance and therefore pupils must be recorded as NOT having taken a school lunch:

  • if the school kitchen is closed and the school has not offered any alternative provision
  • pupils who have changed their preference to bring a packed lunch
  • pupils are absent for other reasons not connected to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The information below hasn’t changed since our last update

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline opening hours

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline remains available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Please listen carefully to the available options and select the most appropriate to your nursery, school, or college’s current situation.

Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm

Advice service for nurseries, schools and colleges to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Public Health England (PHE) has introduced a new dedicated advice service, delivered by NHS Business Services Authority, for nurseries, schools and colleges. The service is for those needing support on the action they should take when they have been informed of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their setting (i.e. a pupil or staff member testing positive).

It can be reached by calling the Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on 0800 046 8687 and selecting option 1. 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. Advisors will be responsible for referring more complex cases to the PHE regional health protection team, as necessary, following a triaging of your circumstances during the call.

Phone: 0800 046 8687 – option 1

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm