What schools need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak

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This guidance has been updated to reflect the announcement by the Prime Minister that the government’s 5 tests have been met and the decision, based on all the evidence, to move forward with the wider opening of education and childcare settings.

This guidance is for schools in England including:

  • local authorities
  • local-authority-maintained schools
  • academies
  • free schools
  • alternative provision schools
  • pupil referral units
  • special schools
  • independent schools

It sets out the principles we’d like all schools to follow.

We will update this guidance as we have further information available.

DfE coronavirus helpline

Telephone 0800 046 8687

If you have a query about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to schools and other educational establishments, and children's social care, in England contact our helpline.

Lines are open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm at weekends.

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

Published 22 March 2020
Last updated 3 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect the announcement by the Prime Minister that the government’s 5 tests have been met and the decision, based on all the evidence, to move forward with the wider opening of education and childcare settings.

  2. Updated section 19.4 to clarify how meetings should proceed.

  3. Updated guidance with the actions that schools will need to take in preparation for the wider reopening of schools on 1 June 2020.

  4. Updated guidance on bank holidays, Early Years Foundation Stage, recruitment and workforce.

  5. Updated information on online resources and remote learning, workforce, and vulnerable children.

  6. Updated information on mental health issues, educational staff from overseas, primary school place offers for April 2020, exclusion and the governing board’s duty to reinstate excluded pupils.

  7. Updated sections on funding, holidays and practicalities.

  8. Added information about safeguarding. Updated information about workforce and critical workers.

  9. Added information about the workforce, hubs and links to other guidance.

  10. Updated questions on ‘How are vulnerable children defined’, 'Is it compulsory for parents of vulnerable children to accept their place offer', 'Will critical workers or parents of vulnerable children be penalised if they do not send their child to school', 'What should schools do if vulnerable children do not attend school' and what public health advice should schools follow'.

  11. First published.