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updated on 29 May 2020
Ref: 30853

The government has announced that schools can reopen for some year groups from 1 June. Find out what else it announced, and what this means for your schools.

Updated 29 May: The dates for wider opening of schools in June have now been confirmed by the government. We've updated the article to reflect this.

We'll continue to update this article as more information becomes available. Click 'Save for later' in the top-right corner to get an email alert when we've done this.

Some year groups can return in June

Alongside the priority groups that schools may already be open for, schools are being asked to welcome some year groups back in June.

Pupils in these year groups will be 'strongly encouraged' to attend, but:

  • Parents won't be fined for non-attendance
  • Schools won't be held accountable for attendance levels

We've set out below the groups the government wants to get back into school.

Early years settings from 1 June

Are being asked to open to all children.

Primary schools from 1 June

Are being asked to open for all pupils in:

  • Nursery
  • Reception
  • Year 1
  • Year 6

The government's ambition is that all primary school pupils will eventually return to school before summer holidays, for a month, if feasible.

Secondary schools from 15 June

Are being asked to provide some face-to-face support to pupils in:

  • Year 10
  • Year 12

This support should supplement pupil's continuing remote education, so it won't need to be full-time provision.

Special schools from 1 June

Are being asked to welcome back as many children as they can safely cater for.

Special schools can prioritise attendance based on:

  • Key transitions
  • Impact on life chances and development

They may also want to create a part-time attendance rota, so that as many children as possible can benefit from attending.

Alternative provision (AP) settings

From 1 June, they're being asked to open for all pupils in:

  • Reception
  • Year 1
  • Year 6

From 15 June, they're also being asked to provide some face-to-face support to pupils in:

  • Year 10
  • Year 11

This support should supplement pupils' remote education, so it won't need to be full-time provision.

Not all staff and eligible pupils should attend

The DfE says:

  • If they're clinically extremely vulnerable (as defined here), they should continue to learn or work from home
  • If they're clinically vulnerable (as defined here) – parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category, and staff in this category should continue to work from home wherever possible
  • If they live with someone who's clinically extremely vulnerable, they should only attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and, in the case of children, they're able to understand and follow those instructions
  • If they live with someone who's clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), they can attend school
  • Anyone experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, or living with anyone experiencing symptoms, shouldn't attend

No specific curriculum requirements after reopening

Schools can decide how best to support and educate pupils. They won't be penalised if they can't offer a broad and balanced curriculum during this period.

However, the DfE expects schools to:

  • Consider pupils' mental health and wellbeing, and identify any pupil who may need additional support so they're ready to learn
  • Assess where pupils are in their learning, and adjust the curriculum as needed in the coming weeks
  • Identify and plan how best to support the education of high needs groups, including disadvantaged pupils, vulnerable pupils and pupils with special educational needs or disabilities
  • Support pupils in year 6, who'll need both their primary and secondary schools to work together to support their transition to year 7 – see guidance on doing this here (on The Key for School Leaders)

Priorities for primary schools

The DfE has said primary schools should prioritise:

  • Resocialisation into new school routines
  • Speaking and listening
  • Regaining momentum in particular with early reading
  • For children who've had limited opportunities for exercise, opportunities to exert themselves physically with supervised non-touch running games
  • For year 1, schools should ascertain where children are against existing reading curriculum and if they're behind, help them catch up or relearn any forgotten material
  • For year 6, schools should focus on their readiness for secondary school, particularly their academic readiness in mathematics and English

Schools with early years provision should use reasonable endeavours to provide activities and experiences across all 7 areas of learning (see here for more details).

Schools will need to follow new safety guidelines

The DfE has published guidance on protective measures in schools and safe working ahead of reopening.

Read this article to find out more about the protective measures your schools should have in place.

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