Coronavirus (COVID-19) – what you need to know
For school-specific enquiries, call the DfE’s coronavirus helpline: 0800 046 8687.
If you, or a child or adult in school, may have symptoms, use NHS 111 online if at all possible, or call NHS 111.
The latest news (last checked 5pm, 30 March 2020) is:
- Lockdown is in place across the country, but schools will continue to stay open for select pupils (see below) and parents can continue to take these children into school if they cannot look after them safely at home [Schools Week]
- Schools in England remain closed for most pupils until further notice, but where possible they're staying open (including during the Easter holidays) to look after:
- Children of critical workers (e.g. NHS staff, police, delivery drivers)
- Vulnerable children (e.g. children with a social worker or an EHC plan)
- Full definitions for these two groups have now been released
- Exams due to be held in May and June are cancelled, including SATs, GCSEs and A-levels, but pupils will still receive qualifications, calculated by exams boards based on teacher judgements and prior attainment
- Performance tables won't be published for this academic year
- Children on free school meals will get support from a national voucher system, which will be available as soon as possible. In the meantime, schools should see whether their existing catering service can prepare meals, use local initiatives, or buy vouchers directly from supermarkets and be compensated by the DfE later
How to work with your school now
Resources for your board
- What your board needs to do now
- What to monitor while your school is closed
- Remote meetings – how to run them, plus the rules on attendance and the quorum
- 'Chair's action' – when and how the chair can make urgent decisions on the board's behalf
- Latest government advice for your school
You're most likely stepping up to support your headteacher as much as you can right now.
You may find yourself talking about more operational things than usual, as these are such extraordinary circumstances. Discuss what your headteacher needs to discuss but remember that operational decisions still rest with them.
Make sure you keep your clerk up to date with any actions you take, so they can keep a record.
Stay in touch with your chair and minute any actions they take.
If your board is having any meetings, minute these as usual too. Be especially careful, as always, to record any decisions (e.g. to hold meetings remotely or defer any tasks), and new arrangements (e.g. link governors holding remote conversations with staff).
Other governors and trustees
Unless you hear otherwise from your chair, now is the time to step back and let your chair work with your headteacher. But do be on hand to provide extra support if called on to do so.
Support for your school leaders
Make sure your headteacher and their leadership team know they can use our coronavirus resource hub on The Key for School Leaders for the latest information on dealing with the challenges this situation presents.
This content is free to access (no subscription needed) and we're adding to it daily to support your school leaders with running a skeleton school, supporting remote learning, communicating with parents, and more.
Help us guide you and boards like yours
Tell us what you need help with, or how you're working with your school right now to overcome challenges. We'll do our very best to support you. And we'll spread the best of how schools and boards are working together under these difficult circumstances to help guide others.
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