On Thursday (26 August 2021) the government launched its back to school and college campaign to set out the experience that students can ‘get back to’ from September, with restrictions such as bubbles eased to allow a full return to sport, music, drama, science experiments and being with their friends.
It said schools and colleges are maintaining proportionate protective measures such as testing, ventilation and extra hygiene precautions that help keep children and staff safe and minimise disruption to face-to-face education.
Secondary schools and colleges are offering two tests on-site at the start of term, followed by continued regular testing at home. Students aged 16 and 17, as well as younger children aged 12-15 in certain eligible groups are encouraged to take up the offer of the vaccine.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“I know the return to school and college this September is a huge moment for students and education staff, who have all shown enormous resilience over the past 18 months.
“It is the point when our focus can shift away from the disruption of covid and on to learning, enrichment and recovery.
“I have every confidence that school and college staff, parents and students will continue to work together admirably, following pragmatic measures like testing and vaccinations to minimise disruption and keep children where they belong – in the classroom.”
The campaign features Matt Richards, gold medal-winning swimmer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and Dr Ranj Singh, NHS consultant paediatrician and TV presenter who will reassure students and families about the return to school.
Dr Ranj Singh said:
“As COVID-19 becomes a virus we learn to live with, delivering face to face education, without disruption is vital to support our children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing.
“There is a low risk of coronavirus in children compared to other ages groups, and the benefits of education continue to outweigh the covid health risk to children and students.”
Social and digital advertising will launch today alongside wider engagement with the teaching profession and local communications. The campaign will run until early September.
Parents are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school.
Schools received guidance in July setting out the measures they should implement from September, including maintaining increased hygiene and ventilation, but removing bubbles and face coverings.
Schools are expected to continue offering immediate access to remote education where young people test positive for the virus and need to isolate.
A small team of attendance advisers are also being recruited to work with local authorities and multi-academy trusts to provide advice, guidance and support on attendance where absence rates are higher than average.
More information can be found here.