Children: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 13th January 2021.

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Photo of Lord Porter of Spalding Lord Porter of Spalding Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 7 December (HL10633), what assessment they have made of the impact of school exclusion on those children who are prevented from attending school due to COVID-19 infection in their support bubble.

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

We have commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to provide a baseline assessment of catch-up needs for pupils in schools in England and monitor progress over the course of the year to help us target support across the system, which is currently ongoing.

A new national lockdown came into effect on 6 January and schools should only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend face-to-face education. All other pupils will learn remotely. Our get help with remote education portal provides information, guidance and support on educating pupils and students during the COVID-19 outbreak. The portal is accessible here: https://get-help-with-remote-education.education.gov.uk/.

We know that receiving face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement and we will review the restrictions on schools to ensure that children and young people return to face-to-face education as soon as the pressures are easing on the NHS. Limiting attendance at this time is about reducing the number of contacts that people have with other households given the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and the intense pressure on the NHS.

For those pupils and staff still attending school, the system of protective measures that we have asked schools to implement continues to mean that any risks are well managed and controlled.

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