Letter to parents from the Secretary of State for Education

Today the Secretary of State for Education has written an open letter to parents encouraging continued regular testing, to support all the hard work schools and colleges have been doing to increase participation.

The Public Health England COVID-19 resource centre has been updated with new testing resources to support your outgoing communications to parents and students in secondary schools and colleges. This includes:

social and poster resources – to stress the importance of continued testing and reporting in settings and on school social media channels
a test explainer kit with practical resources to support self-testing at home, including the vital step of reporting

Update to the contingency framework following the announcement on enhanced response areas

We have updated the contingency framework following the government’s announcement on enhanced response packages to tackle the Delta variant in some areas.

The contingency framework describes the principles of managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 in education and childcare settings. It covers all types of measures that settings should be prepared for, which includes those that may be recommended as part of an enhanced response area.

All education and childcare settings should have outbreak management plans outlining how they would operate if any of the measures described within the contingency framework were recommended in their area for any reason.

Secondary schools and colleges should ensure their outbreak management plans cover the possibility that it is advised that face coverings should temporarily be worn more widely in settings in their area and that asymptomatic testing sites (ATS) may be required. Additional guidance has been issued to the Directors of Public Health advising that they work in partnership with schools and colleges before reinstating ATS. The green ‘How to Guide’ details how schools and colleges should set up and run an ATS, as they did in March 2021.

If settings are concerned about COVID-19 issues in their area and think additional measures in their setting may be required, they should discuss with their Local Authority, Department of Public Health or Health Protection Team.

The information below has not changed since our last update

Department for Education COVID-19 helpline

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

Department for Education guidance

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic 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