School for primary aged children after lockdown

In new Government guidance published this week there are plans for a phased return for primary aged school children, and early years settings.



The proposed phased return for early years settings and schools is aimed from the start of June  with children returning to early years settings, reception, year one and year six in smaller sized groups of no more than 15 children. There would potentially be staggered pick-up and drop-off times and break times to maintain social distancing.

The guidance states: “This aims to ensure that the youngest children, and those preparing for the transition to secondary school, have maximum time with their teachers.”

There is a secondary goal of getting all primary school children back to school before the summer holidays, for a month if possible, but this will be subject to review. The focus on younger children is due to evidence suggesting they may be less likely to catch COVID-19, have fewer contacts outside school and be more likely to suffer a detrimental effect if they don’t go to school.

The guidance, Our plan to rebuild: the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, comes in a new 50-page document to accompany the Prime Minister’s statement on Sunday for plans to ease the lockdown.

Secondary schools and further education colleges should also prepare to begin some face to face contact, in small groups, with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year to support remote, home learning.


Childminders and nurseries can begin opening from the start of June. The Government recognises that demand for childcare is likely to be lower than usual at first and says existing space requirements and staff to child ratios for these age groups should allow for small group working. However, if this is not possible, it says providers will need to exercise their judgement in ensuring the highest standards of safety are maintained. This may mean they have to introduce a temporary cap on numbers to ensure that safety is prioritised.
The guidance states: “The Government is also amending its guidance to clarify that paid childcare, for example, nannies and childminders, can take place subject to being able to meet the public health principles at Annex A [these include social distancing and washing hands], because these are roles where working from home is not possible.” It says this should enable more working parents to return to work.

PPE in educational settings

Separate guidance says face masks are not encouraged in schools or nurseries unless pupils shows symptoms of COVID-19. It says: “The majority of staff in education settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of two metres from others.” If a school or childcare worker or student lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable they should only attend if they can practice rigorous social distancing.

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