COVID-19 information for schools, nurseries and families

Guidance for education and early years settings. Information on testing and vaccinations.

Updated 3 March 2022

The government has published its plan for living with COVID-19.

For schools this means:

  • Staff and students in most education and childcare settings no longer need to test twice a week.
  • Face coverings are no longer legally advised.

As we learn to live with COVID-19, education and early years settings will continue to follow government guidance to limit infection and keep everyone safe.

Please understand that this means that some advice will remain in place.

  • Children should not attend school or early years settings if they have any symptoms or if they test positive. 
  • If the number of positive cases substantially increases in a nursery, school, or college, you might be advised that additional measures will be introduced.
  • If you insist on your child attending nursery, school, or college when they have symptoms, an education setting can take the decision to refuse your child if, in their reasonable judgement, it is necessary to protect other pupils and staff from possible infection with COVID-19. 

COVID-19 testing

If you feel unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms

Although anyone testing positive for COVID-19 is no longer legally required to self-isolate, it is still recommended that you stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you should avoid contact with others and order a PCR test. If you test positive, stay at home and follow the guidance for people with COVID-19 and their contacts. Please inform your school/nursery/college of your result.

PCR tests will continue to be available until 31 March.

Lateral flow testing

Secondary school and college students are no longer being asked to take lateral flow tests twice a week at home. Pre-school and primary aged children also do not need to be regularly tested. 

Lateral flow test kits remain available to order online or pick up locally until 31 March. They are recommended for those most at risk from COVID-19 or those working, living with or visiting people most at risk.

COVID-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15 year olds

In Sussex, first and second vaccinations for 12 to 15 year olds are available:

  • from the schools immunisation team, either at school or at a follow up session (which are also available for children who are home schooled). Parental, guardian or carer consent must be given before vaccination, in line with existing school vaccination programmes.
  • by booking an appointment online or by calling 119. In Brighton & Hove these appointments are at Churchill Square daily after school and on weekends. A parent or carer must attend.
  • at a walk-in site offering vaccinations to 12 to 15 year olds. This includes Churchill Square. A parent or carer must attend but no appointment is needed.

All parents, carers and guardians should have received details of any sessions at your school, as well as the consent process, and next steps.

If you’re under 18 years old and at high risk from COVID-19, you’re eligible for a second dose from 8 weeks after your first dose. The National Booking Service will only offer appointments from 12 weeks after your first dose. To get your second dose from 8 weeks, please take a letter from a GP that says you’re eligible for a second dose from 8 weeks.  

Read more about vaccinations for 12 to 15 year olds.

More info for young people

dedicated website, Everything COVID, has been set up for young people with all you need to know about the vaccine programme and the vaccines themselves.

A Textline is also available for healthy 12 to 15 year olds by texting 07312277727. It provides access to expert advice from registered healthcare professionals for those wanting to find out more about the vaccine and includes information on consent issues and process.

COVID-19 vaccinations for 5 to 11 year olds

Children aged 5 to 11 who are in a clinical risk group or who live with someone who is in immunosuppressed are now able to get the first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Eligible children include those with diabetes, immunosuppression, learning disabilities, and other conditions as outlined by the UK Health Security Agency in the Green Book. Parents and guardians should wait for the NHS to contact them for when it is their child’s turn to get the vaccine.

Expansion of the vaccination programme to healthy 5 to 11 year olds

The government has announced that all 5 to 11 year olds will be offered the COVID-19 vaccination. This follows a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that all 5 to 11 year olds should be offered two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech paediatric vaccine. The two doses should be given with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses.

In Sussex we have been working to develop plans for delivery. This is not yet live, and there will be further national announcements of when this vaccination will be offered. Parents are urged not to contact their GP practice to ask about these vaccinations; more information will be shared soon.

COVID-19 vaccinations for 16s and over 

Everyone aged 16 and over can get their 1st, 2nd or booster vaccines by booking online or visiting a walk-in session in the city.

Having your vaccine after testing positive for COVID-19

Young people aged 12 to 17 who are not in a high-risk group should wait 12 weeks after a positive test showing COVID-19 infection before getting a vaccine dose.