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New coronavirus-related guidance from the DfE

Posted in News

We are indebted to Ian Noon of the National Deaf Children’s Society for this summary of recent DfE guidance:

As colleagues will have seen, DfE (England) published new guidance earlier this week on school arrangements in from the 19th July. In case it is helpful, below is my summary of what’s changing and how this might impact on deaf children.

  • Face coverings will no longer be required or recommended within schools or on school transport
  • Where there is an outbreak in the school, a Director of Public Health may advise they be reintroduced. For this eventuality, the new guidance retains some of the text around transparent face coverings, face shields and the need to make reasonable adjustments that was already in DfE guidance on face coverings.
  • The new guidance acknowledges that remote education may still be necessary in some cases. It includes a line around the need to make reasonable adjustments for those with SEND.
  • Schools will no longer be required to maintain bubbles. There is already some flexibility around this in current guidance for children requiring access to specialist SEND support (e.g. in resource provisions) though we know, in practice, this could vary.
  • There’s nothing specific in the guidance that I could see around provision of external specialist support and therapies in schools and colleges – so the default assumption should be that this should be provided as usual.

Below is a key line on overall policy that I pulled out from the DfE guidance:

As COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with, there is now an imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education – particularly given that the direct clinical risks to children are extremely low, and every adult has been offered a first vaccine and the opportunity for two doses by mid-September. Our priority is for you to deliver face-to-face, high quality education to all pupils. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health.

The full guidance can be read at:

Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak