DFE Updated guidance
The Department for Education have updated their guidance “preparing for the wider reopening of schools from 1st June”. They have: “Updated the planning guide for primary schools to reflect the announcement by the Prime Minister about the decision, based on all the evidence, to move forward with wider opening of education and childcare settings. We have also added links in the primary schools guide, to the planning guide for early years settings, and the updated attendance reporting guidance”.
The primary school guidance includes:
Practical steps to reduce risk
- ensuring that staff remain at a safe distance from each other at lunchtime or during breaks (including how to manage if your school has a small staff room or other staff areas)
You should also consider working with your catering supplier and kitchen staff on arrangements for lunchtime. Children in reception and year 1 should have the option of a free meal under the universal infant free school meals policy. Meals should be available for all pupils in school, and these should also be free of charge for pupils that qualify for benefits-related free school meals. With your kitchen staff, you will need to consider how meals will be prepared and served safely. Plans will need to be in place to ensure food supplies are in place for when children return.
Work out arrangements for lunch (and any ‘snack’ times for early years) so that children do not mix with children from other groups – this could mean having several lunch sittings or serving lunch in more than one location, including if appropriate in a classroom, or asking your caterers to look at other flexible ways of giving pupils access to lunch such that it can be eaten in the small group setting (for example taking cold or ‘packed’ lunches to children in the areas they are in for the day).
On the secondary school guidance it says:
- minimising contact and mixing, as far as possible, by keeping pupils in small groups for face-to-face support and keeping those groups as consistent as possible whilst in school (e.g. for arrival, lunchtime, breaks and departure) and altering the school environment (e.g. changing classroom layouts so desks are further apart or dividing groups into different classrooms)
- mixing between different groups of pupils should be kept to a minimum. We recognise that the range of subjects taught in secondary schools means that some mixing may be unavoidable to provide pupils with face-to-face support from subject teachers. We would expect that these groups are still smaller than normal. We would also expect schools to minimise mixing for arrival, lunchtime, breaks and departure. While in general groups should be kept apart, brief, transitory contact, such as passing in a corridor, is low risk
Additionally, the following questions have been tabled today:
Tulip Siddiq (Shadow School Food Minister) To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support the families of pupils on free school meals over the school summer holidays in 2020.
- Several Labour MPs have asked similar questions but referencing their constituencies i.e. Asked by Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support the families of pupils on free school meals in Bristol East during the school summer holidays in 2020.
Tulip Siddiq (Shadow School Food Minister) To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on what date the contract for Edenred to deliver the national free school meal voucher scheme in England expires; and what plans he has to (a) renew that contract and (b) find an alternative company to deliver that scheme.
Children receiving free school meals during the holidays is supported by Anne Longfield, the Childrens Commissioner. She has tweeted this morning:
The following press release goes into more details on their calls on Government to help children who have been pushed into poverty as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Analysis by the IPPR published today estimates that the crisis has pushed 300,000 children into poverty since the start of the pandemic.