Covid-19 Info 27th April

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Final week to claim for free school meals additional costs

You have until 11:59pm on Tuesday 4 May to claim for additional costs incurred from providing locally sourced vouchers to pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals between Monday 4 January and Friday 5 March, when pupil attendance in school was restricted. You can also claim for lunch parcels provided during this period and up until the start of the Easter holidays.

You can claim directly, or local authorities and academy trusts can claim on your behalf. Claims can only be made for support that was provided to eligible pupils over the specified period and to the values stated in the guidance. You should not make claims in relation to support provided through the Edenred national voucher scheme, as all of those costs have already been met centrally by the Department for Education. All claims made will be cross-referenced with orders made using the national voucher scheme.

Further information on claiming for additional costs can be found in the coronavirus (COVID-19) free school meals additional costs guidance.

The use of schools as polling stations in the forthcoming election period

The Government has confirmed that local elections will go ahead on Thursday 6 May. Given significant disruptions already to education this year, Returning Officers have been asked to avoid using schools as polling stations, where practically possible. In exceptional circumstances, where schools are used as polling stations, we have asked that Returning Officers work with schools to minimise any disruption.

Pupils eligible to attend on Thursday 6 May should continue to do so. However, if necessary, for the safe operation of polling stations and to limit risks to staff and pupils, schools may ask some pupils not to attend, and arrange non-contact provision on Thursday 6 May. On-site provision should still be available to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers on election day and appropriate safeguarding measures should be put in place. Schools should not close to pupils on Friday 7 May.

In a letter to Returning Officers and schools, we have set out the detail of additional funding made available to local authorities to help Returning Officers avoid disruption to schools and cover the costs of cleaning, including any cleaning taking place after polls close, so that those schools can be open to pupils the following day. The following steps should be taken before schools resume use of their whole estate:

·         ventilating any rooms used for polling, via full window and door opening to fresh outside air for at least 1 hour

·         after ventilation, sanitising all hand touchpoints (for example door handles, rails and seats)

Ministers from the Department for Education and the Cabinet Office have published a letter to all schools and Returning Officers setting out expectations for the forthcoming elections.

Get help with technology – support for schools with Apple devices

To help support schools get the most out of their devices, Apple are running a four-part online series to maximise their functionality to aide teaching methods and learning. Sessions include Elements of Deployment, Apple School Manager, Deploy and Manage Apple Device and Teacher Tools.

The sessions will run from 12pm to 1pm on Tuesday 18 May, Wednesday 19 May, Tuesday 25 May and Wednesday 26 May.

Further information can be found on the Apple website.

The information below has not changed since our last update

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) is available to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.    

Phone: 0800 046 8687 

Opening hours: 
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm 
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm  

Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.  

Look up your unique organisation number (UON)

If you have not received your unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits you can look it up using your unique reference number (URN) or your UK provider reference number (UKPRN) or by calling the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.

Private, voluntary and independent nurseries do not need a UON.

Department for Education guidance  

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below:  

·         Guidance for early years and childcare providers 

·         Guidance for schools

·         Guidance for further and higher education providers

·         Guidance for local authority children’s services

·         Guidance for special schools and other specialist settings