Schools can reopen for all pupils from 8 March
Pupils can return to face-to-face education in school and further education in England. Wraparound childcare, such as after-school clubs, can reopen.
To reduce the spread of Covid-19, it is vitally important that you and your family continue to follow government guidance. This enables the measures that education settings have put in place to be as effective as possible.
Symptom free testing - rapid COVID-19 tests using lateral flow devices (LFDs)
People can have COVID-19 without realising it. Symptom free, or ‘asymptomatic’ testing helps to rapidly identify people who have COVID-19 but have no symptoms who could be passing it on to others without knowing.
How to get symptom free testing using a rapid lateral flow test
Families and households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, will be able to test themselves twice weekly from home using lateral flow devices (LFDs).
There are different ways to get a test:
- through your employer if they offer testing to employees
- by collecting packs of home test kits from a local or regional test site
- by ordering a pack of home test kits online
Secondary school pupils
Upon returning to school, secondary school pupils will be asked to take their:
- first 3 tests at their place of study under the supervision of a trained operator
- fourth test themselves using a home test kit
Pupils will then continue taking twice-weekly tests using a home test kit provided by their school. Pupils must report their result to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed, either online or by telephone, as set out in the home test kit instructions.
Testing remains voluntary, and it is not mandatory for your child to be tested in order to return to school. However, regular testing can prevent people from unknowingly spreading the virus. Where possible, please support your child to take these tests.
What twice-weekly testing involves
You will be asked to:
- take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days apart)
- report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test
Report your test result online or by calling 119.
If anyone tests positive or gets coronavirus symptoms, they should tell the school and:
- self-isolate immediately
- get a PCR test to confirm the result
- follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
A negative result means the test did not find signs of coronavirus. But this does not guarantee you do not have coronavirus, so you should keep following all coronavirus advice including:
- regular handwashing
- social distancing
- wearing a face covering where recommended
Pre-school and primary school children
Pre-school children and primary aged pupils do not need to be regularly tested. Staff will be invited to take part in symptom-free twice weekly testing to help reduce transmission of the virus and keep everyone safe.
Travel to and from school or nursery
Travelling on foot or by bike is the safest way to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19.
Whatever method of transport your child uses, encourage them to avoid travelling or walking in groups. If you travel with your child, take care to maintain social distancing at drop-off and pick-up times.
If your child needs to travel to school by bus and is 11 years or over, they have to wear a face covering – unless they are exempt.
Avoid travelling in cars with other households
If you have to travel with people outside your household group, try to share the transport with the same people each time. Keep the windows open, wear a face covering, keep some distance wherever possible and clean the vehicle between journeys.
Early years and childcare
Early years settings including nurseries and childminders are open to all children.
From 8 March, out-of-school settings and wraparound childcare providers will be able to offer indoor and outdoor provision to all children. However, parents and carers will only be able to access settings for certain essential purposes including for vulnerable children and to allow parents to work.
Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is under 14 - this is mainly to enable parents to work, and must not be used to enable social contact between adults
Some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble
Nannies can continue to provide services, including in the home
From 29 March out-of-school settings and wraparound providers will be able to offer:
- outdoor provision to all children
- indoor provision to:
- vulnerable children and young people
- children on free school meals, where they are attending as part of the Department for Education’s holiday activities and food programme
- allow parents to work
Family Information Service
The helpline is currently open Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm. You can also email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wellbeing and mental health support
During lockdown schools will have staff available for you to speak to.
If you have any specific concerns about your child, please contact your school or early years setting directly.
If you are worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing, we recommend you visit the YMCA DownsLink Group's online ‘e-wellbeing’ resource.
The council’s Schools Wellbeing Service has a consultation line for parents and carers who may be concerned about emotional wellbeing and mental health issues.
If you would like to speak to a mental health worker, please send an email to SWSConsultationLine@brighton-hove.gov.uk.
If you have particular worries or concerns around special educational needs (SEN) issues, please speak to your school SENCo.
If parents can’t get hold of the school SENCo and their child has an EHC plan they can contact their SEN case worker.
Find more information about the support available for children who have SEND.
The Brighton & Hove Inclusion Support Service (BHISS) is running an open email for parents and carers. If you are concerned about your child’s development and emotional wellbeing, please send an email to BHISS@Brighton-hove.gov.uk.