Frequently Asked Questions
The DfE are now recommending that face coverings should be worn by pupils in year 7 and above, staff and adult visitors when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas. This is a temporary measure. Pupils in these schools should also wear a face covering when travelling on public transport and dedicated transport to and from school.
There are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances. In relation to education settings, this includes (but is not limited to):
- people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- people for whom putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
- people speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
- to avoid the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
- you are also permitted to remove a face covering in order to take medication
Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of infection within schools. Secondary school pupils should continue to test twice weekly at home, with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits, 3-4 days apart. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged.
Ensure good hygiene for everyone
- Hand hygiene: Frequent and thorough hand cleaning should now be regular practice. You should continue to ensure that pupils clean their hands regularly. This can be done with soap and water or hand sanitiser.
- Respiratory hygiene: The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach continues to be very important.
Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes
- We are operating a cleaning schedule which includes regular cleaning of areas and equipment, with a particular focus on frequently touched surfaces.
Keep occupied spaces well ventilated
- External windows and opening of internal doors where possible will assist with creating a throughput of air and natural ventilation. This will of course be balanced with the maintenance of a comfortable working temperature.
Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19
- Pupils, staff and other adults should follow public health advice on when to self-isolate and what to do. They should not come into school if they have symptoms, have had a positive test result or other reasons requiring them to stay at home due to the risk of them passing on COVID-19 (for example, they are required to quarantine)
Confirmatory PCR tests
Staff and pupils with a positive LFD test result should self-isolate in line with the stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. They will also need to get a free PCR test to check if they have COVID-19.
Whilst awaiting the PCR result, the individual should continue to self-isolate.
If the PCR test is taken within 2 days of the positive lateral flow test, and is negative, it overrides the self-test LFD test and the pupil can return to school, as long as the individual doesn’t have COVID-19 symptoms.
School attendance is mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age and it is a priority to ensure that as many children as possible regularly attend school. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s attendance please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Students who are required to self-isolate in line with the stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection will still be able to access work via their Google Classroom. We will ensure that all resources are available for our students to learn from home if they are well enough to do so.
Pupil wellbeing and support
We have noticed a number of pupils who are experiencing a variety of emotions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as anxiety, stress or low mood. Parents/carers can access useful links and sources of support for you child below:
General information relevant to children and young people’s wellbeing and mental health
These resources are dedicated to children and young people’s general mental health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on mindfulness with developing coping skills in young people.
- Student Space is here for students through coronavirus. However you’re feeling, help and guidance is available. Explore a range of trusted information, services and tools to help you with the challenges of student life. You can use their search tool to find the services available at your university.
- NHS Apps library helps people find apps and online tools to help manage their health and wellbeing. For example:
- Calm Harm* is designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm.
- Catch it* helps people manage feelings like anxiety and depression and improve mental wellbeing.
- Sleepio*is an online sleep improvement programme which is free for people living in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.*
- The Student health app is designed to reduce your worries, feel more confident and get the support you need at what can be a challenging time for any student.
- Thrive * helps you prevent and manage stress, anxiety and related conditions.
- Students Against Depression* is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking.
- Togetherall* is available for students at eligible universities and colleges who are feeling stressed, anxious, low or not coping. It provides an anonymous online community who share troubles and support each other. It is a safe space as it is moderated by trained professionals who are available 24/7.
- The Wellbeing Thesis is an online resource for postgraduate research students to support your wellbeing, learning and research.
- Place2Be has a host of mental health resources available. They organise Children’s Mental Health Week every year.
- SafeSpot* is an iPhone and Android app that promotes positive mental wellbeing in children and young people and has been designed to help children and young people with their coping skills.
- MindEd’s* advice and resources for families on supporting children’s mental health. This includes the Education Hub* (which hosts a short Wellbeing for Education Return training webinar*for education staff as well as more in-depth content* covering wellbeing and resilience, bereavement and loss, stress, trauma, anxiety and low mood) and the Coronavirus Staff Resilience Hub.*
- BBC’s wellbeing resources for families.
- Young Minds: a letter about how I’m feeling: worksheet to help pupils express their feelings and understand what may have triggered them. For use with pupils in school or at home.
- Mentally Healthy Schools: tools to support an emotional check-in with pupils.
- Mentally Healthy Schools: an anxiety thermometer as a wellbeing measurement tool.
- Mental Health at Work:* Supporting Educators’ Mental Health including during the pandemic. Round-the-clock one-to-one support by call or text from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health.
- NHS:*Mental Health Helplines for Urgent Help – NHS 24-hour advice and support for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for. Help is available to speak to a mental health professional.
- NHS IAPT:* free online NHS adult psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), for common problems involving stress, anxiety and depression. IAPT services can be accessed either through a self-referral by contacting your Local IAPT or via your GP.
- Cruse Bereavement Care:* Coronavirus, Bereavement and Grief online information, advice and support. Helpline: 0808 808 1677.
- Headspace:* Headspace for Educators offers educators access to free mindfulness and meditation exercises and resources for every age group, and a free Headspace Meditation App.
- Centre for Mental Health:* Supporting Mental Health during Covid-19: a brief guide
- Public Health England Every Mind Matters:* Looking After Your Mental Health Resources aims to support everyone to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing by promoting a range of self-care actions.
- Public Health England:* Every Mind Matters Self-Care Tool when you complete the 5 ‘Survey’ questions, a ‘Mind Plan’ is generated, with signposting options to many useful resources.
- Young Minds: 10 Wellbeing Tips for School Staff
- Anna Freud: self-care strategies for young people* feeling low or anxious and self-care tips for parents and carers.*
Covid-19 specific children and young people’s wellbeing and mental health support
For young people who feel particularly overwhelmed and troubled by Covid-19, these resources are helpful ways to manage anxiety around the pandemic, with helpful tools on self-care.
- A downloadable guide from the Children’s Commissioner for children and young people about the coronavirus, including proactive advice to support mental wellbeing.
- The Think Ninja* app educates 10–18-year-olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing and provide skills young people can use to build resilience and stay well. It has been adapted to Covid-19 to bring self-help knowledge and skills to those who may be experiencing increased anxiety and stress during the crisis.
- The Rise Above website aims to build resilience and support good mental health in young people aged 10 to 16. The content has been adapted to Covid-19 and includes new mental health content based on insights from young people on remote schooling.
- The Every Mind Matters* website aims to support everyone, including children and young people, to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing by promoting a range of self-care actions. It has been adapted to include advice and support about mental health issues that may have arisen because of the pandemic.
- The Young Minds website* – provides online information on COVID-19 and mental health support to children and young people.
Mental health support for parents/carers
Below are some select resources that can help adults better support children, and also find the help that they themselves might need.
- Public Health England advice* for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Online wellbeing resources for home education - a list of mental wellbeing resources designed to provide guidance on how to support the wellbeing of children and young people being educated remotely.
- Mentally Healthy Schools: a range of free coronavirus and mental health toolkits with useful resources and guidance to support school staff, parents and carers through the challenges they face as a result of the pandemic. This includes:
- Resources for managing anxiety and improving wellbeing
- Dealing with the effects of lockdown
- Resources for building resilience
- Anna Freud:* top tips to help families work together and support one another during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Barnardo’s See, hear, respond hub:* information for parents and carers to help with some of the challenges the pandemic has presented.
- SecEd Headteacher Update:* Best Practice Guide (2020) Focusing on Staff Wellbeing Post-lockdown and During the Full Return to School
- Family Links: Mental and Emotional Health in Schools: effective strategies and support for schools as they respond to the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on the whole learning community: Free Online Course.
- Teacher Magazine: Teacher Wellbeing During COVID-19 *
- TES:* Coronavirus and Schools: LIVE 11/11 : A one-stop shop for teachers who want to know what impact the ongoing pandemic will have on their working lives.
- National Education Union:* Coronavirus: What You Need to Know – Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing
- TES SEN Show:* Supporting the Emotional and Mental Health of the Education Workforce free webinar. Suitable for all Key Stages.
- Schools’ Wellbeing Partnership: Mental health and wellbeing in primary schools –Preparing for Recovery: Self-review and Signposting Tool.
- Teacher Magazine Podcast:* The Research Files Episode 62: Teacher Adaptability
Issue and group specific children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing support
Sometimes, children need specific and targeted resources to help with problems they are facing. Below we have outlined some support available for particular issues, including loneliness, suicide prevention, eating disorders and domestic abuse.
- The SEND Gateway is a good source of information for professionals, containing resources on responding appropriately to children and young people with SEND with emotional wellbeing needs.
- DfE have published factsheets for care leavers *, setting out the support they can access during Covid-19, including one on their wellbeing and where to access support for their mental health.
- Resources from University of Bath *and the ‘Tell Me about Loneliness’ *project provide advice and tips about how to tackle loneliness and are thoroughly rooted in evidence of young people’s experiences during loneliness.
- The Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign* – the website provides a whole host of resources and information for those feeling lonely, including blogs and podcasts from those who have experienced loneliness.
Bullying, harassment, and abuse
- The government tool Respectful school communities: a tool to support school staff to combat bullying, harassment and abuse of any kind.
- Childhood Bereavement Network has a range of resources to help schools to respond to a bereavement and to provide support to bereaved pupils and their families. It also includes signposting to local bereavement services.
- Cruse Bereavement Care: Coronavirus, Bereavement and Grief* online information, advice and support. Helpline: 0808 808 1677*.
- University of Oxford guide for parents and carers *on supporting their child or young person in dealing with self-harm.
- BEAT* advice and support on eating problems and disorders, with general downloads and resources* and advice for school and college teachers and staff*:
- Helpline: 0808 801 0677
- Youthline: 0808 801 0711
- Studentline: 0808 801 0811
- The Sanctuary chat room* for people with an eating disorder, created specifically in response to coronavirus.
- Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide)* provides confidential advice and support for young people who feel suicidal and has published a guide for teachers and staff*
- HOPEline UK: 0800 068 41 41
- Text: 07786 209 697
- The Zero Suicide Alliance *collaboration of National Health Service trusts, charities, businesses and individuals offers free suicide prevention training.
- Samaritans* is a national organisation for anyone in distress and in need of immediate support:
- Tel: 0116 123
- Email: email@example.com
- UK Trauma Council resources on coronavirus and trauma*
- Operation Encompass Teachers’ Helpline*staffed by educational psychologists, to support staff working with children and young people at risk of or experiencing domestic abuse (0204 513 9990, weekdays during term-time, 8-11am).
Drug and alcohol support
- Find confidential local drug and alcohol support services here*or phone 03001236600* for confidential support from Talk to Frank.
- Children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from Government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations by:
- texting SHOUT to 85258 *
- calling Childline on 0800 1111 *
- calling the Mix on 0808 808 4994 or texting THEMIX to 85258 *