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Education: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 114235, tabled on 11 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that education of children who have been told to shield for medical reasons is protected during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

23 November 2020

The Department published expectations of the quality of remote education for schools on 2 July as part of the schools guidance for full opening and for further education (FE) providers in August as part of the autumn term guidance, 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.

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education in line with previous guidance and the Temporary Continuity Direction which has been in effect since 22 October 2020.

On the 1 October, the Department announced a further remote education support package, to help schools and FE colleges meet the remote education expectations set out in guidance and Direction. Many elements of the support package are already in place and more will be available over the coming months to schools and FE providers, these can be accessed through the remote education service on GOV.UK, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The support package includes access to the right technology to deliver remote education, peer to peer training on how to use this effectively, and practical tools, good practice guidance and school-led webinars. This adds to existing support including the resources available from Oak National Academy, which provides video lessons across a broad range of subjects for every year group from Reception to Year 11. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for 2020-21. This is available here: https://www.thenational.academy/.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, the Department is making over 340,000 laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

Schools can order devices for clinically extremely vulnerable children who have been advised to shield by contacting covid.technology@education.gov.uk.