Has anything changed?
The only things that have changed are the rules on self-isolation, temporary introduction of face coverings in secondary schools and colleges, the vaccination programme for school aged children and Ofsted inspections.
If a child or pupil tests positive they may be able to end their self-isolation period before the end of the 10 full days. They can take a lateral flow device (LFD) test from 6 days after the day symptoms started and another LFD test on the following day. The second LFD test should be taken at least 24 hours later. If both these test results are negative, and the child or pupil does not have a high temperature, they may end their self-isolation after the second negative test result, and return to their education setting.
To maximise the number of children in school and college for the maximum amount of time, the Government is temporarily recommending that face coverings are worn in classrooms and teaching spaces for students in year 7 or above, in light of the Omicron variant surge. The advice is short term only to support pupils and teachers as they return to schools this term and builds on the existing proportionate guidance that recommends face coverings for all adults in communal areas of all settings.
The advice on face coverings in classrooms will be in place until the 26 January, when Plan B regulations are currently scheduled to expire, at which point it will be reviewed.
We know that vaccinations remain our best defence against COVID-19 and that is why every child and young person aged 12 and over is eligible to receive the vaccine and second doses for 12-15 year olds are also now available. More information on the importance of getting a vaccine or a booster is available here: How getting a booster will help protect education - The Education Hub (blog.gov.uk). Parents and teachers are also encouraged to get the vaccine and their boosters.
Ofsted has already confirmed that it will not be inspecting secondary schools during the first week of term in January, as schools undertake on-site pupil testing.
In addition, for a temporary period from the start of January, Ofsted will not ask school, college and early years leaders, who are also Ofsted inspectors to undertake inspections, this will mean they can focus entirely on their leadership responsibilities at this critical time.
For more information please visit The Education Hub