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Remote Education: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 96219, tabled on 28 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 September 2020 to Question 90289 on Remote Education: Coronavirus, if he will make it compulsory for schools to remotely educate whole classes rather that stating that such schools should plan to do so.

Answered on

6 October 2020

On 1 October, the Department published a temporary continuity direction which makes it clear that schools have a duty to provide remote education for state-funded, school-age children unable to attend school due to COVID-19. This will come into effect from 22 October 2020. The direction poses no additional expectations on the quality of remote education expected of schools beyond those set out in this guidance.

Alongside the direction, the Department also announced further remote education support to assist schools and further education (FE) colleges in meeting the remote education expectations set out in the schools guidance for full opening, published in July, and the autumn term guidance for FE colleges, published in August, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools; and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term.

The support package will be available over the coming months to schools or FE colleges seeking additional support, and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

For schools, the Department’s support includes 250,000 laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and development resources for staff, including a good practice guide and school-led webinars. We are also investing £1.5m of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme, which provides peer-to-peer support for schools and colleges. For colleges, the Department’s support package will include 80 grants of £1,000 to colleges across England, providing additional training and support for mentors and coaches specialising in assisting teachers with remote education.

The package is designed to help schools and colleges build on and deliver their existing plans in the event that individual or groups of pupils are unable to attend school because of COVID-19 in line with guidance and the law. This adds to existing support outlined in the Answer of 22 September 2020, including resources available from Oak National Academy.

Schools and colleges have worked hard over the summer and the autumn term to prepare for full reopening and to develop remote education contingency plans. This is testament to their commitment to ensuring any missed education is recovered and that we prevent the attainment gap from widening further. We have a shared responsibility for working to ensure this generation of young people do not face long-term disadvantage.

Named day
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