Updated guidance for education settings on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Firstly, thank you for your patience in what is a very difficult time. I appreciate that many parents will have been anxious concerning the lack of clarification regarding your child’s/children’s future attendance at Our Lady’s. Until the early hours of this morning, Our Lady’s, like all schools, had not received the relevant information required to inform parents.
It is important to emphasise, that for a large number of our pupils, school will close at the end of the school day today (Friday 20th March) for an indefinite period. As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That is why the government have given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.
The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
Parents are also asked to follow these key principles:
1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then we will prioritise your children for provision.
Health and social care: This includes, but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare: This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services: This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government: This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in- government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods: This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security: This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
Transport: This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services: This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
Places will also be available for students with EHCPs and those who may be especially vulnerable during school closure. Parents of these children will be contacted directly by school.
If workers think they fall within the critical categories listed above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service. If you still require our services during this time please confirm by dropping us an email on
Rest assured that work will be provided for those children remaining at home. This work will be sent via email to parents so that the children are able to continue learning. With this in mind, we will be sending children home with a blank exercise book in each pack and stationery so that pupils can undertake tasks set by teachers.
We have also received notification from the DfE that upcoming National Curriculum assessments have been cancelled. This means the following assessments planned between April and July 2020 will not take place:
• End of key stage 1 and key stage 2 assessments (including tests and teacher assessment)
• Y1/2 Phonics screening check
• Y4 Multiplication tables check
• Science sampling tests
• All statutory trialling
At present, we do not have the full details of what will replace these tests in terms of a teacher judgement on a child’s attainment. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is that we receive 100% engagement from all pupils and parents with the work being set during this closure. This will be key to ensure that there is a continuation in learning for our pupils in order that they can hit the ground running with their studies once we resume.
Please note that this is a national closure – as you have heard in the news and from my recent communications – so while it is a challenging situation, we are not alone. Whilst closed, we will be issuing information on our school website, by email and via texting parents.
There are also online learning sites for you to use with your children and some of these are listed below:
Your child may need their password to log into some websites. All children have copies of their passwords in the front of their reading diary or homework book.
Other websites include:
Virtual museum tours:
We will continue to put in special measures to ensure that pupil activity reduces the risk of infection. We ask that if you or your child displays any symptoms of coronavirus, that they begin isolation immediately.
We have been overwhelmed with offers of support and kind messages. To those who we haven’t been able to get back to personally, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The children have been fantastic at school - a real credit to themselves, their families and our school.
We will be in contact with details when the school will be opening again.
Take care and God bless.
RE: School closure due to coronavirus
The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has now been classified as a pandemic and the number of confirmed cases in the UK has risen in recent weeks. Following guidance given by the government, Our Lady’s School will close for the majority of its pupils from Friday 20th March to minimise the further spread of coronavirus.
As advised by the government, we will do all we can to stay open for the children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff, police, others in frontline services) and children with certain needs. We are waiting for the government to publish more information on what this means. It would help us in the meantime if you could let us know if you think your child may fall into one of these categories, if both parents are key workers and therefore would require ongoing supervision in school.
Please contact the school using the email address below as soon as possible. We will be in touch again as soon as we are sure who this does apply to.
All other children will need to stay at home, so we ask that you do not send your child into school from Monday onwards.
We will keep you informed of any developments via email, Parentpay and text message. Please make sure you have provided your current contact details to the school office to ensure you receive our correspondence. If you need to provide new contact details, they can be sent via email to or given over the phone using 01942 832299
Although it is impossible to replicate the work the teachers had planned for their classes, in order to reduce the closure’s effect on children’s education, we have prepared alternative work provisions for pupils to complete at home. To reduce the closure’s effect on pupils’ education, we have prepared alternative work provisions for pupils to complete at home. Pupils will be set a range of tasks ranging from Mathletics to work booklets, which will be emailed directly to you.
If you are unable to access the internet at home, please contact us by the end of day Friday 20th March on 01942 832299 and we will look into alternative options for your child.
Thank you for your cooperation in ensuring the safety of our pupils and staff. If you need to contact the school for any reason during this period of closure, you can do so by emailing us at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can call us on 01942 832299. We will continue to keep you informed during the closure and update you with any new information about our re-opening date.
Thank you again for your continued support and for your cooperation in ensuring the safety of our pupils and staff. We will be in touch with more information when we can.
Mr C R Horridge
This guidance is intended for:
people with symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, and do not require hospital treatment, who must remain at home until they are well
those living in households with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus
The main messages are:
if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See ending isolation section for more information)
if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period. (See ending isolation section for more information
if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
if you have coronavirus symptoms:
do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
Today, the Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for education settings on COVID-19. This guidance will assist staff in addressing COVID-19 in educational settings. This includes childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions.
What you need to know:
staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
The updated guidance can be found here:
Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.
The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce would be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to education or children’s social care settings will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance:
Department for Education coronavirus helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)
Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends.
If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.
Where to find the latest information
Updates on COVID-19:
Guidance for educational settings:
Guidance for social or community care and residential settings:
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:
Latest Department for Education information: