To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has made to update the contingency plans and guidance for future health crises for (a) his Department, (b) schools, (c) nurseries and early years providers, (d) colleges, (e) further education institutions and (f) universities and the higher education sector.
The government developed its contingency framework for education and childcare providers to help them, and others who work with them, to manage the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and have contingency plans in place for future COVID-19 outbreaks. This guidance is regularly updated, most recently on 21 January 2022, and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings
Education providers are required to prepare their own outbreak response plans, and then in December to refresh them before the end of term. Any measures providers are required to implement are supported by comprehensive national guidance. We work very closely across government to ensure our planning is in step with wider society and informed by the most up to date public health advice.
The department is considering how the changes made to respond to COVID-19 can support wider readiness for future potential public health scenarios. A contingency framework for any future health crisis would draw upon lessons learnt from COVID-19, but would need to be specific to the new circumstances and part of a coherent cross-government response.