Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd July 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lisa Cameron Lisa Cameron Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Mental Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his 15 June 2020 guidance for secondary school provision, what the face to face check will consist of; how that check will be standardised and accredited; and what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) those carrying out that check are appropriately trained and registered through an independent Government-approved agency, (b) actions as a result of the check align with Government guidance and include adequate help and support to families and (c) all matters relating to that check are transparent, subject to Ofsted inspection and publicly funded.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The guidance for secondary school provision from 15 June 2020 was issued to support schools in England to welcome back pupils from eligible year groups. This can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

From 15 June, secondary schools in England have been able to invite year 10 and 12 pupils (years 10 and 11 for alternative provision schools) back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers, to supplement their remote education. This is alongside vulnerable children and the children of critical workers who have been able to attend school throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Whilst secondary schools have been unable to welcome back additional year groups, they have had the flexibility to invite pupils in other year groups in for a face-to-face meeting before the end of this term, where it would be beneficial. We have asked schools to ensure this happens in line with wider protective measures guidance, and guidance on the numbers of pupils permitted on-site at any one time.

Schools have the flexibility to implement this support in the way that best suits their circumstances, including considerations around staff availability, expertise and workload. It is up to schools to decide how they want to use face-to-face support in the best interests of their pupils (e.g. additional pastoral support, academic support, practical support, or a combination of these) and which staff are best placed to provide it.

Ofsted’s routine school inspections are suspended at this time to enable schools to focus entirely on the immediate challenge of supporting pupils for the remainder of this term and preparing for a full return of pupils from September. Ofsted will not therefore be assessing the face-to-face support being provided by schools during this period. As set out in the Government’s guidance on the full opening of schools, published on 2 July, Ofsted will conduct a programme of non-graded visits to a sample of schools in the autumn to discuss how they are managing the return to education of all their pupils. This guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

It is intended that routine Ofsted inspections will restart from January 2021, with the exact timing being kept under review.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.