COVID-19 Updates

May 13, 2020

** This information is received from the Government and regularly updated


Opening schools for more children and young people: initial planning framework for schools in England

All schools are different, and it is not possible for government to set specific national guidelines that could be universally applicable. Instead, we have created a framework to help school leaders and academy trusts to start thinking through the steps they might need to take to enable them to open their schools for more pupils. The framework is designed for schools. Further guidance for childcare providers and colleges will be published shortly.

The framework can be found here:

Guidance on the wider opening of early years settings

Our published guidance sets out that, subject to conditions, childminders and all early years settings can open to more children from 1 June.

In line with the Prime Minister’s roadmap of the COVID-19 recovery strategy, encouraging people who cannot work from home to return to work where possible, and to align with the Government’s position on nannies, we will be updating our guidance for early years settings to confirm that paid childcare can be provided to the children of one household from Wednesday 13 May.

This includes childminders, who may choose to look after the children of one household if they are not already looking after vulnerable children or those of critical workers.

Update on the national voucher scheme for free school meals (FSM)

On Tuesday 12 May our national voucher scheme supplier, Edenred, reported that voucher codes totalling more than £70m have been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families. To ensure that your orders are processed effectively, please order multiple eCodes together wherever possible.

Full details of the scheme can be found here:

The information below has not changed since yesterday.

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 and Sunday

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the helpline.

Handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when outside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found at:

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

Resources are currently available for KS1, KS2 and KS3 and can be used in various settings including schools and at home:

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.​UK

All of the Department for Education’s coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.​UK at:

Our main schools guidance, the ‘actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak’ will be regularly kept up to date. Any new advice for schools on specific issues, such as food, exams or safeguarding, will be linked from:


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