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Changes to Covid-19 measures impacting schools and colleges

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Changes to Covid-19 measures impacting schools and colleges

It was only late last year that the Department for Education re-introduced measures to tackle the spread of Covid-19 after the discovery of the Omicron variant ( 

Advice was clarified when “Plan B” was adopted (  

Turning to the present day, schools and colleges have been asked to implement revised advice and new measures.

Most notably, for those in year 7 or above, the Government is temporarily recommending that face coverings are worn in classrooms and teaching spaces. The wording used in the guidance ( is “…face coverings should be worn in classrooms”, with the use of the word “should” meaning that the Department for Education expects the advice to be followed unless there is good reason not to. What constitutes a “good reason” has not been tested and it is recommended that you seek legal advice in the event a pupil refuses to wear a face covering in the classroom.  

The new face covering advice is said to be short term only. It is to be in place until the 26 January, at which point there will be a review. 

Another change is the shortening of the period of self-isolation, provided a certain criterion is met. A child or pupil who has tested positive may end their self-isolation before the end of the 10 full days if:

they take a lateral flow test from 6 days after the day symptoms started;

 they take another lateral flow test on the following day after taking the test (at least 24 hours later); and

 both the test results are negative, and the child or pupil does not have a high temperature.

Turning to Ofsted, it has confirmed that it will not be inspecting secondary schools during the first week of term in January. For a temporary period from the start of January, Ofsted will not ask school, college and early years leaders, who are also Ofsted inspectors to undertake inspections.

The Department for Education envisages that some schools and colleges might have difficulties with staffing, due to the high transmissibility and infection rate of the Omicron variant. 

The latest advice is that in circumstances where there are staff shortages, schools and colleges should consider asking teachers/tutors to stream lessons from home to classrooms. Pupils/students in the classroom would be supervised by another member of staff, which could include support staff. Schools and colleges are also asked to consider combining classes if circumstances demand it.

Finally, it is expected that VTQ exams and formal assessments should go ahead.

If you have any questions relating to the Department for Education’s latest update, please give me a call on 01245 453847 or send an email to