It’s still the school summer holidays, but teachers and staff have been working hard to implement the necessary steps so they can welcome all pupils back safely in the autumn term, in line with government advice.
It is vital that children and young people return to school and college – for their educational growth, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development. The Government have said, therefore, that school and college attendance will again be mandatory from the beginning of the new academic year.
For parents and carers of children of compulsory school age, this means that the legal duty on you as a parent to send your child to school regularly will apply. Where children are not able to attend school as parents are following medical and/or public health advice, the absence will not be penalised.
It is important to note that not everyone may be asked to return on the first day of term. Some schools might ask pupils to return one year group or a class at a time so that they can get used to any new arrangements. All children should have been given a return date within the first two weeks of term, although there may be a few exceptional cases.
Your school will have told you about the plans they have made for pupils to return, either by contacting you directly or publishing the information on their website.
Parents can find out more information about how schools are making their preparations online. There is also guidance for parents, which sets out some of the changes and protective measures the government is asking schools and colleges to put in place, and about what parents, carers, children and young people will need to do to help ensure schools and colleges are as safe as possible for everyone.
Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) should also refer to the separate guidance for full opening of special schools and other specialist settings.
If you have concerns about your child returning to school or college, because you consider they may have other risk factors, please do not hesitate to discuss with your school or college.
The return to school is possible because the prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased since schools and colleges restricted their opening in March, the NHS Test and Trace system is up and running and more is understood about the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments in schools.
For full details, please see Devon County Council’s coronavirus (COVID-19) page.