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Schools during Lockdown

Published: 26 January 2021

Image of woman on the phone while home schooling child

Lowering the risk in Surrey schools

Children and young people in Surrey are once again learning from home. Families and carers across the county are doing an invaluable job of supporting children and their schools to ensure learning can go on. This includes many families who are busy working from home themselves and in many cases, critical workers.

Lowering the risk in schools

Class sizes inside schools have been higher in some Surrey schools than in other parts of the country. Many schools have had more than half of their usual pupil numbers coming into class. Surrey has also seen some of the highest rates of Covid-19 contraction and hospitalisation in the country.

Critical workers and schools

Any parent or carer who is a critical worker should keep their child at home where possible, if it is safe to do so. They should access any remote learning provided by the school.

It isn't always easy to have a child who needs to access learning from home. For anyone working from home, recovering from shifts or with other responsibilities at home, it's even more challenging.

Families can take advantage of childcare bubbles to support them in looking after a child at home. These enable two households, beyond your own support bubble, to share or provide informal childcare for any under 14s. More information can be found on the GOV.UK web page - Making a childcare bubble with another household.

By keeping your child at home, you are helping to protect your family, your school community and your wider community. Types of workers who are regarded as 'critical' to either the Covid-19 response or EU exit transition can be found at Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings - GOV.UK.

Who else should be in school?

Children who have a specific requirement to do so under government guidelines must attend school or college in person. These include children and young people of families who may receive the support of children's social services. It also includes children who might have a child in need plan or child protection plan and young people with certain other vulnerabilities.

For a full list of children and young people who should attend school or college in person visit Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings - GOV.UK.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), they should also go to school or college in person. If your child has an EHCP but you would like your child to stay at home, you must agree this with your school or college and health or social worker first.

When not to attend

If your child or a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) they should all stay at home and follow the government guidance. 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.

If your child displays symptoms, get a test for them and inform your place of education of the result.

Technology at home

If your child is unable to access a device or the internet – and you are struggling to provide this for them to adequately access remote learning – contact your school or college. Schools will have access to the government's get help with technology programme for certain families. Visit Get laptops and tablets for children who cannot attend school due to coronavirus on the GOV.UK website for more information.

Free school meals

Families who normally receive free school meals for their child, but whose child is at home, will now be eligible to receive a voucher to provide their child's meals during the day, if their school is not providing food boxes for this purpose. Schools and nurseries will communicate directly with families about their arrangements to ensure children are provided for.

Early Education

Nurseries and early education or childcare providers are currently unaffected by the changes in schools and continue to provide important early education for Surrey's very young people as well as childcare for their busy families.

You may be eligible for funded early education or childcare. Check or reconfirm your eligibility via the Funded childcare in Surrey web page.

Staying Safe

We know the changes mean it isn't easy sometimes for many households. Your community and the NHS thanks all those families and carers who are helping young people learn from home and to stick to the rules.

By staying at home and following the rules when you go out, you and your family are helping to keep yourselves and your community safer.

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