Support and guidance for schools during COVID-19 (remote education)
To provide advice and support to schools in relation to helping children to learn at home. To ensure that schools and parents understand how to use online resources safely to safeguard children and families.
Though the remote education temporary continuity direction and the requirement to provide remote education to pupils expired at the end of the summer term (July 2021). The DfE will assess the development of the pandemic over the summer and into the autumn term to see if a new temporary continuity direction is needed.
The Schools COVID-19 operational guidance, updated 19 July 2021, informed schools that they should ‘maintain your capacity to deliver high-quality remote education for the next academic year, including for pupils who are abroad, and facing challenges to return due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, for the period they are abroad’.
The remote education provided should be equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school.
Get Help with Remote Education provides a one-stop-shop for teachers and leaders, signposting the support available. Senior leadership teams and governors will want to assure themselves that their remote education offer meets the expectations in this guidance by reviewing and self-assessing their current practice.
Publishing information about remote education
Since 25 January, schools have been expected to publish information about their remote education provision on their school website and can use the DfE’s optional template.
The DfE has published updated (4 February 2021) guidance on devices and support available to The Education (Coronavirus, Remote Education Information) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021.
Get help with technology
Get help with technology during COVID-19 provides guidance on the devices and support available to provide remote education. It includes:
- Get laptops and tablets for pupils and students who cannot access face-to-face education due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Get internet access for disadvantaged children and young people
- Laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers for social care
- Apply for a grant and support to get set up with a digital education platform
- Get funded training and support to set up and use technology effectively
Laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers
Some schools and colleges ordered ‘restricted’ Windows laptops and tablets. These came with security software installed. The licenses expire on Thursday 30 September 2021 so schools will need to reset these laptops, tablets and routers to continue using them.
If you have got Huawei routers, you will need to reset them before Friday 16 July 2021. If you don’t, you won’t be able to use another SIM card when the data runs out.
If you ordered ‘standard’ Windows devices that were provided without security settings, no action is required.
As always, it’s your responsibility to safeguard children and young people in your care. The DFE’s resetting guidance includes all the information you need to restore factory settings and apply your own security software to laptops and tablets.
If you have any questions or encounter issues during the reset process, please contact the DfE Get Help with Technology team.
The DfE has also extended its digital education platform programme for a further 12 months. This means that you can now apply and claim for a grant until the end of March 2022.
The programme enables schools to receive government-funded support to set up a digital platform for remote learning. This is something that we recommend you do, if you don’t already have a platform.
Schools can also request help to increase mobile data allowances for children and young people who:
- don’t have fixed broadband at home
- can’t afford additional data for their devices
- are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education
- can’t attend school because they’re clinically extremely vulnerable
If increasing mobile data isn’t a suitable option for some families, schools can request 4G wireless routers
Support for remote education
The DfE has published a remote education good practice document to support school leaders in developing their remote education contingency plans. The DfE has also published a remote education framework to help schools identify strengths and areas for improvement in provision. This is not statutory and schools can amend and adapt it. Ofsted has published a guide on what is working well in remote education.
Ofsted has also published information on how remote education is working for children and young people with SEND.
Their findings are taken from the autumn and spring term interim visits.
Ofsted’s video about remote education and what is working for children and young people with SEND is now available to watch and you can also download slides on remote education for children and young people with SEND: a discussion pack for leaders and practitioners.
The EEF has created a Rapid Evidence Assessment. It examines existing research into approaches to support remote learning and offers suggestions about things to consider when planning and implementing strategies. The EEF website also has tools for schools to help support home learning and maximise the impact of work set.
Information to support parents and carers of children learning at home
The DfE has updated the following pages: supporting your children’s remote education during COVID-19. Additional resources and links have been added along with a new section that explains what parents should expect of remote education.
Safeguarding and remote education
The DfE’s safeguarding and remote education guidance is about safeguarding in the context of remote learning and home education. This should be read in conjunction with existing safeguarding guidance (as explained above). The guidance is designed to help school staff towards ensuring safe education at home. Schools should of course remember to include online safety in their ongoing communications with parents and carers. The guidance covers:
- safeguarding pupils and teachers online
- reporting concerns
- communicating with parents
- carers and pupils
- virtual lessons and live streaming
- providing pastoral care remotely
- personal data and GDPR
Harmful online challenges and online hoaxes has been provided by the DfE in collaboration with partners in the UK Council for Internet Safety’s Education subgroup and the Samaritans. It’s intended to provide advice to support your school’s approach to tackling harmful online challenges and online hoaxes, whilst keeping children safe online.
The UK Council for Internet Safety’s Education subgroup, in consultation with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, have also recently updated guidance for education settings working with children and young people. The guidance provides advice on responding to incidents and safeguarding children where nudes and semi-nudes are shared, including images, videos or live streams online.
In addition, the DfE have added extra resources to Coronavirus (COVID-19): keeping children safe online. This is the advice for parents and carers about how to keep children safe from online harm.
Keeping children safe online remains a high priority for all of us.
Last Updated: 6 September 2021