Educational Institutions: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd October 2020.

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Photo of Viscount Waverley Viscount Waverley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether COVID-19 marshals will be used to ensure that schools and colleges are (1) facilitating social distancing, and (2) providing COVID-19 secure environments.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

On 2 July the department published guidance to help schools and colleges prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to education settings full-time from the beginning of the autumn term: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term.

We have worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) to develop the specific guidance for school settings. The PHE endorsed system of controls outlined in this guidance sets out the measures that school leaders and all school staff should follow. Colleges are responsible for completing risk assessments and complying with Health & Safety Executive (HSE) duties. HSE may review risk assessments and the measures that have been put in place by colleges to make the premises COVID-19 secure. Our guidance is clear that if schools and colleges implement the actions set out, they will effectively reduce risks in their school and create an inherently safer environment. This includes minimising contact between individuals and maintaining social distancing wherever possible.

At this time, there is no plan to introduce COVID-19 marshals in schools and colleges. There cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach where the system of controls describes every scenario. Head teachers will be best placed to understand the needs of their communities and to make informed judgments about how to balance delivering a broad and balanced curriculum with the measures needed to manage risk.

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