Implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings
The childcare and education sector regularly faces change and uncertainty, and we are adept at quickly responding and adapting to anything that comes our way. However, the level of uncertainty and challenge that the sector currently faces due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is different to any we’ve seen before.
Government guidance previously stated that education and early years settings must close their doors and remain closed for the foreseeable, except for those providing care for vulnerable children, and the children of keyworkers. This guidance has now been updated due to the progress that has been made in reducing the transmission of coronavirus, and the government is now encouraging all education and childcare settings to reopen, with all eligible children to attend if possible.
Children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, along with priority groups were welcomed back by primary schools on 1st June. Two weeks later, on 15th June, secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges are offering some face-to-face support for year 10, year 12 and 16 to 19 learners, to support them with their exams the following year. Nurseries and other early years providers, including childminders, also have started to welcome back children.
It is important to get children and young people back into education as soon as it is safe to do so, to ensure they are in the best environment to learn and boost their mental wellbeing by the social interactions that they have with their peers and teachers. It also allows more families to return to work which is essential for their emotional and financial needs.
The number of children and young people attending education settings will therefore be gradually increasing, based on the latest scientific advice, and this will allow settings to implement protective measures to ensure their classrooms are safe. The government guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings can be accessed here.