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Buckinghamshire Council issues guidance for pupils returning to school for the Spring Term 2021

| January 1, 2021

Buckinghamshire Council has issued a statement providing guidance for pupils returning to school for the Spring Term 2021.

On Thursday 31st December 2020, Anita Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘Buckinghamshire’s schools are not on the government list for a delayed start. The delayed start is only being used as a last resort and – with the exception of some guidance that has been issued for secondary schools – does not apply to all Tier 4 areas.

With that in mind face-to-face teaching in primary schools should resume from the start of the new term as planned.We have reviewed yesterday’s, 30 December [2020], Government announcement regarding the start of the school spring term and the implications for pupils and school staff – guidance has been issued to our schools and we will continue to support them.

The ‘Major Incident’ that was also declared yesterday relates to the increasing infection rate and number of beds available in our hospitals, which are under extreme pressure at the moment. Whilst we all have a part to play in supporting the NHS, the decision to implement contingency planning from the DfE in some Tier 4 areas is not directly related to this.

The guidance, issued by Buckinghamshire Council, for pupils attending Buckinghamshire Schools is as follows:

Primary Schools

  • From Monday 4th January 2021 primary schools are expected to resume face to face teaching as planned.
  • Testing of staff in primary schools is likely to start before the end of the month.
  • When Buckinghamshire Council has more information on this they will share it with school leaders and offer support.

Secondary Schools

  • From Monday 4th January 2021 only vulnerable pupils and children of key workers should attend secondary schools. For all other pupils as far as possible there should be remote learning, with pupils who are in exam year groups receiving as close to normal lessons as possible remotely.
  • Covid testing resources are due to be delivered on Monday 4th January 2021 and schools will be preparing to test all staff as soon as is practicable.
  • Arrangements to test* pupils in Years 11 and 13 will be made during the week beginning Monday 4th January 2021.
  • From Monday 11th January 2021 vulnerable pupils and children of key workers should continue to attend school with pupils in Years 11 and 13 attending too.
  • Arrangements to test* pupils in other year groups will be made during week beginning Monday 11th January 2021 and continue to be educated remotely.
  • From Monday 18th January 2021 all pupils should be attending face to face education. Staff should be tested weekly as well as contacts of any positive cases.

*Pupils should not arrive at school for a test unless they have been asked to do so.

Special Schools

  • All pupils in special schools, due to the fact that they have EHCPs, are classified as vulnerable.
  • Special Schools will therefore be preparing to re-open fully to pupils from Monday 4th January 2021 (unless any INSET days are already planned).
  • Shielding advice is currently in place in Tier 4 areas, and so all clinically extremely vulnerable children and young people are advised not to attend school.
  • Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, Buckinghamshire Council expect schools to offer them immediate access to remote education.

For further information, parents and carers are advised to read the government guidance available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-schools-coronavirus-covid-19 or visit their school’s website.

*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.

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