Schools and childcare information during coronavirus

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Attendance at schools and colleges

The National Lockdown announced on 4 January 2021 included a move to remote learning for all children and young people in education from Tuesday 5 January 2021, except for children who are vulnerable and children of critical workers.

Primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to remote learning with immediate effect and school and college buildings remain closed to all other pupils.

Further guidance can be found at GOV.UK Guidance on return to school, college and university.

There is a Government scheme in place to enable those families who don't have adequate access to technology required for remote learning. Details can be found on the GOV.UK Get laptops and tablets for children who cannot attend school.

Vulnerable children and children of critical workers

Vulnerable children and young people should continue to attend school or college, in line with the government guidance. National lockdown: Stay at Home - GOV.UK (

Children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) should continue to attend school or college. School leaders, health and social workers will determine whether the child is safe at home before authorising any absence, should parents wish to keep their child at home.

Children with at least one parent or carer who is critical to the COVID-19 and EU transition response can request access to on site learning at school if required. Many parents working in these critical sectors will be able to ensure their child is safely kept at home and in these cases they should do this. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. Protect the NHS and save lives.

The definition of Vulnerable Children and Critical Workers and further guidance can be found at GOV.UK Critical workers and vulnerable children.

Face-to-face school provision

Some schools, colleges and early years settings may be affected by staff availability and capacity. In these circumstances, robust risk assessments will be used to determine whether vulnerable learners, children of key workers and early years pupils can attend in person. Schools, colleges and nurseries will communicate directly with parents in this eventuality.

All Special Schools and Alternative Provision Providers

Special Schools and Alternative Provision Providers will continue to welcome and encourage pupils to attend full-time where the parent or carer wishes for their child to be able to attend.

Special post-16 settings are continuing to welcome and encourage students to attend as per their usual timetable where the young person wishes to attend.

Attendance at nursery and childminders

Nurseries and early years education remain unaffected by these announcements, although you should continue to look out for information from your local provider.

National lockdown: Stay at Home - GOV.UK ( childcare.

Check if you are eligible for any of the funded entitlements for early education and childcare for your 2, 3 or 4 year old.

Staying safe if attending for face-to-face learning

For the safety of your household and your community, it is vital to follow the Government guidance when outside of school. This includes when travelling to and from your place of learning and when inside and outside of the home.

Children, young people and their families should avoid coming into contact with other households or support bubbles, including before and after school and at drop-off and pick-up times.

This applies even where your child is part of a bubble within their school, college, nursery or childcare environment. They and your households must not mix when outside of class or childcare, at home or when travelling there.

When not to attend

  • If a child or young person has symptoms of coronavirus or tests positive for the virus, they should remain at home and follow Government guidelines.
  • If a member of your household has symptoms of coronavirus or tests positive for the virus your household should also remain at home and follow Government guidelines.
  • If your child displays symptoms, get a test for them and inform your place of education of the result.
  • They should also stay at home if advised to do so by either NHS Test and Trace or by their school, college, nursery or childcare provider. See for more information.


Shielding advice is now in place for January National Lockdown so all children still deemed clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school. Those children and young people whose parents or carers are clinically extremely vulnerable can continue to go to school. As well as those children who are vulnerable or a child of a critical worker.


For those children required to attend face-to-face learning and eligible for school transport provision, school transport will currently be provided in accordance with the existing national guidance. We are awaiting updated guidance from central Government and we will revise our guidance accordingly should it be required.

Children and young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated transport to secondary school. This does not apply to people who are exempt from wearing a face covering on public transport. More information on this can be found at the GOV.UK safer travel guidance for passengers.


Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and their parents or carers are facing numerous challenges as a result of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Visit the Surrey Local Offer website for information to support parents/carers of children and young people with SEND.

Emotional support

It can be challenging for young people experiencing change and uncertainty at this time. They can talk to health professionals and other young people confidentially at

Find advice and support on preventing and dealing with anxiety and low mood for your child or yourself at Healthy Surrey. It also contains information about support if you feel at crisis point.

Financial support

If you find you are struggling financial during the coronavirus crisis or you are worried about providing for your family, various sources of support are available. Find out more on the Surrey County Council COVID financial support web pages.

Free School Meals provision

The Government has provided advice to schools and education settings regarding the provision of Free School Meals to those eligible families whilst they are accessing remote learning. This is to ensure that during this time these families still have access to their food entitlement. Free School Meals are provided to children whose families have a benefits related entitlement.

Schools and education settings will work with their catering suppliers to provide food parcels, or where the school or education setting would prefer to issue supermarket vouchers, the Government will introduce a national scheme for this purpose. GOV.UK Providing School Meals during COVID19 outbreak.