10/09/2020 Government Update

Hands, Face, Space campaign
A new public information campaign has been launched ahead of winter to highlight how everyone can help to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Yesterday the Prime Minister launched the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ campaign urging the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control infection rates and avoid a second peak. In line with this we have produced a communications toolkit for universities in England, but which may be of wider interest. Consistent adoption of these behaviours is particularly important in places outside of educational settings which do not implement the wider protective measures in the system of controls set out in our detailed guidance:

actions for schools
actions for further education colleges
actions for higher education providers
actions for specialist settings
actions for early years and childcare providers
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin. It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Schools and other education settings must ensure that staff and pupils clean their hands regularly, including when they arrive, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms and before and after eating.

Responding to those with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
It is vital that educational settings only ask children or staff to self-isolate and recommend they get a test if they develop symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Those sent home to self-isolate, having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, should only get tested if they develop symptoms themselves. The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. The capacity of the NHS Test and Trace system must be protected for those with symptoms of the virus. Booking is essential for drive in and walk in test sites, and under 18s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

In line with our guidance, the home test kits supplied to schools and colleges must be reserved for those who face significant barriers to accessing a test and would not otherwise get tested. The Department of Health and Social Care is emailing all schools and colleges with details of how to access additional test kits. An order may be placed each month for a number of kits proportionate to the number of pupils or students at your school or college.

No one with symptoms should attend their nursery, school, college or university. If anyone in your early years setting, school or college confirms to you a positive test for coronavirus (COVID-19), you should notify your local health protection team immediately. The health protection team will work with you to carry out a rapid risk assessment and identify the appropriate next steps.

Important information for schools on when to contact DfE’s helpline and when to contact your local Health Protection Team
Our guidance for full opening of schools sets out the process for managing confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community. If, after reading this guidance you need further information about coronavirus and school guidance, you can contact DfE’s coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on 0800 046 8687. You can also contact this helpline if you have a general query about coronavirus (COVID-19) in your school or education setting.

To keep Public Health England’s local health protection team phonelines free for nurseries, schools, colleges and universities dealing with current or suspected outbreak situations, please only call your local health protection team when your setting becomes aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The local health protection team will advise what action is required. Usually, closure will not be necessary, but some groups may need to self-isolate.

Schools and further education institutions receiving a delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE)
Schools and further education colleges have been receiving a delivery of a small amount of personal protective equipment (PPE). This one-off distribution of PPE contains clinical face masks, aprons, gloves and visors, as well as the hand sanitiser needed to put on and take off PPE. The PPE has been provided free of charge by the Department of Health and Social Care to help build resilience across the education sector to respond to any suspected cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) arising in schools and colleges. Deliveries, which began on 26 August, have been packaged by Clipper and delivered by Royal Mail. Visors have been sent as a separate delivery from the rest of the PPE.

From today, schools and colleges that have not received their deliveries of free PPE will be able to notify the Department for Education using an online form. The form will be available from 10 to 30 September. Before completing this form, we ask that you first contact your local Royal Mail office to check for any undelivered parcels.

As set out in our guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children's social care settings, PPE is only needed if a child, young person or other learner becomes ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in school or college, and only then if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.


The information below hasn’t changed since our last update.


Exam Results Helpline now available until 18 September
The Exam Results Helpline, delivered by the National Careers Service, has been extended and will now be available until 18 September to provide additional support to students and their parents as they consider their next steps. Callers to the helpline will have direct access to experienced careers advisers who can advise on the different options available to them including T levels, A levels, GCSEs, BTECs, apprenticeships and other vocational options. Support will also be available on topics such as clearing, university, gap years and the autumn exam series.

Phone: 0800 100 900

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8am to 10pm
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm