This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Extra measures to boost fairness and support students ahead of next summer’s exams and assessments
Today, the Secretary of State for Education announced that students sitting exams and other assessments next year will benefit from a package of exceptional measures to make them as fair as possible and manage the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Building on the 3 week delay to exams to free up extra teaching time announced in October, the new measures include:
- more generous grading than usual, in line with national outcomes from 2020, so students this year are not disadvantaged
- students receiving advance notice of some topic areas covered in GCSE, AS and A levels to focus revision
- exam aids, for example formula sheets, provided in some exams giving students more confidence and reducing the amount of information they need to memorise
- additional exams to give students a second chance to sit a paper if the main exams or assessments are missed due to illness or self-isolation
- a new expert group to look at differential learning and monitor the variation in the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on students across the country
The government will set out further detail on this process, and on adaptations to exams, in the new year.
We have published guidance to support the summer 2021 exams and accountabilities to provide further clarity for schools, colleges, parents and pupils.
Ofsted phased return to inspections
Ofsted has set out their plans for the return to inspection in schools and further education providers, as well as plans for inspections and regulatory work in early years and social care.
Ofsted’s return to inspection in 2021 will happen in phases, with no graded inspections for education or social care providers planned before the summer term.
From January 2021, Ofsted will start to reintroduce some inspection activity and will resume monitoring visits of providers focusing on those most in need of support, in particular requires improvement, inadequate and new providers. These visits will look at a provider’s progress against specific weaknesses identified at their previous inspection or against standard themes for new providers.
Updates to DfE guidance
We have updated the main sector guidance to reflect the announcements made today:
Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been updated to include information on parent and child groups and Ofsted inspections.
Actions for schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been updated to include information on the minimum expectations for the provision of remote education, examinations and assessments, and Ofsted inspections.
Actions for FE colleges and providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been updated to include information on the minimum expectations for the provision of remote education, examinations and assessments, and Ofsted inspections.
University student travel window and plans for spring term return
The student travel window opens today until 9 December. During this period, students will begin a staggered departure from their university ahead of the end of the winter term. This departure will be in line with specific arrangements put in place by their higher education provider.
We have also published guidance for higher education providers on how they should plan for the return of students for the spring term. The return of students should be staggered over 5 weeks to minimise transmission risks from the mass movement of students.
The information below has not changed since our last update
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.
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.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm
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: