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By 1 June at the earliest primary schools in England may be able to welcome back children in key transition years – nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
Secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will also work towards the possibility of providing some face-to-face contact with young people in Year 10 and Year 12 to help them prepare for exams next year.
However, as the PM has said, progress will be monitored every day. If the virus stays on the downward slope, and the R remains below 1, then – and only then – will it become safe to go further, move to the second step and reopen schools.
Early years settings may also be able to open for all children. The aim is for other primary years to return later in June, but this will be kept under review, and there are currently no plans to reopen secondary schools for other year groups before the summer holidays.
Priority groups, including vulnerable children and children of critical workers who have been eligible to attend throughout school closures, will continue to be able to attend schools, colleges and early years settings as they are currently.
The transmission rate has decreased, and the aim is that by 1 June at the earliest it will be safe for a greater number of children and young people to return to education and childcare. As a result, the Government is asking schools and childcare providers to plan on this basis, ahead of confirmation of the scientific advice.
This will only happen when the five key tests set by Government justify the changes at the time, including the rate of infection decreasing and the enabling programmes set out in the Roadmap operating effectively.
Guidance to the sector, published today (11 May), sets out a range of protective measures to ensure education settings remain safe places, including:
- reducing the size of classes and keeping children in small groups without mixing with others
- staggered break and lunch times, as well as drop offs and pick ups
- increasing the frequency of cleaning, reducing the used of shared items and utilising outdoor space
Preparation for the potential reopening of schools will be part of the second phase of modifications to social distancing measures which the Prime Minister set out yesterday – following more people returning to work in step one, and coming alongside the possible reopening of some non-essential retail in phase two.
The Government will continue to work closely with the sector in the build up to and following pupils’ return.
The BBFC has a range of free educational resources, case studies and tools available online for parents to help guide children to access age-appropriate material. Written in partnership with the PSHE Association, the BBFC’s PSHE free resources outline provides useful ways for parents to use films to talk about content with their children. Parents can download free worksheets, discussion points and lesson plans. The BBFC’s age ratings, ratings info and resources can also help families more generally choose content well and avoid potentially distressing material.
For fun, parents can check out a round up of case studies on the BBFC website, which suggests films to watch and gives insight into the classification process, as well as suggested discussion points so that parents can help their children begin to think critically about film. Children can have a go at being a BBFC compliance officer, and on our cbbfc website for under 12s rate a trailer themselves. Using the BBFC classification guidelines, children need to think critically about the content in the trailers, consider the audience, and can compare their answer with the actual age rating and ratings info.
Going forward, the BBFC will be highlighting movies which are being broadcast that families in lockdown can watch together with fun quizzes for children and parents alike.
Beginning with a 19-day campaign COFIGHT-19 offers expert advice for parents, support for pupils and innovative and creative activities for families. Visit HERE
OpenLearn is the OU’s free to use learning platform with over 15,000 hours of online courses and content available to all. Around 10 million people visit this site every year.
With over 950 short courses (varying from 1-1000 hours of study), learners can explore a vast array of subjects, get inspiration, build skills and confidence and earn recognition if they wish (via badged open courses), all for free. Added to that there are thousands of articles, quizzes and interactive games.
Specifically on Coronavirus, they have a dedicated page which contains information links to UK government advice as well as a dedicated section on supporting mental health and free courses on infectious disease . This will be kept updated, with new content being developed aimed at the elderly (over 70s) on staying well in the event of needing to self-isolate.
For more information: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/
FutureLearn, founded by the OU in 2012, is now Europe’s largest social learning platform delivering short massive open online courses (known as MOOCs) as well as a range of other learning options such as microcredentials to help people up-skill and re skill and fully online degrees. It partners with over a quarter of the world’s top universities as well as a range of organisations such as the British Council and Health Education England. For more information: https://www.futurelearn.com/
It has launched a Free online course on understanding and preventing the spread of coronavirus “COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus” from experts at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, a renowned institute of public health. Designed to help learners better understand the epidemic and how to prevent its spread, the course is an accessible and practical resource for anyone from medical experts to members of the general public.
The course is currently open for enrolment and begins on 23 March. To date over 46,000 learners from almost 200 different countries have signed up for the course in just under a month (44 % of these are based in the UK).
Family Zone www.literacyfamilyzone.org.uk is a one-stop shop for families. Drawing on their expertise and partnerships with teachers, authors, publishers, educational organisations and corporates, Family Zone brings together some of the UK’s most exciting literacy resources and activities in one place. Family Zone is curated for early years to early teens and is full of engaging activities for families to do together.
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