Is it compulsory for my child to attend their education setting during the coronavirus (Covid-19)?

Schools are remaining open as much as possible, for children of key workers and children who are the most vulnerable.

Vulnerable children include those who have an Education, Health and Care plan. Previous government advice was that these children should only attend school if they had significant other needs that meant they could not be safely cared for at home. This advice has now changed and the government expects and encourages all ‘vulnerable’ children to start returning to school, where appropriate. If this applies to you, speak to your child’s school to ask when they expect your child to return.

The Department for Education (DfE) is planning a phrased return to education settings in England from 1 June 2020. All early years settings are expected to re-open however it is likely some may need to apply a cap on numbers. At the moment primary schools are expected to re-open for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children.

The DfE has stated that there will be no penalty for families who do not send their children to school, however families will be encouraged to take up these places - unless the child or a family member is shielding or the child is particularly vulnerable due to an underlying condition. If you have any questions about underlying conditions speak to your GP.

Further guidance from the DfE for parents and carers can be found on the opening schools and education web pages.

The DfE have also brought out guidelines for implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings. These include lower numbers of children per class, staggered breaks and drop off/pick up times and changes to classroom layouts.

Speak to your child’s school if you have any concerns and notify them as normal if your child is unable to attend so staff are aware and can discuss any issues with you.

The above information is for England only – at present schools in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland remain closed for the foreseeable future.

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