Information updated 1 June following commencement of extended provision in Somerset educational settings
Schools and early years providers across Somerset began extending provision to some pupils with effect from 1 June in line with Government guidelines.
Somerset County Council continues to work closely with education leaders on how to implement this guidance safely, taking into account the differences, layouts and capacity of individual schools.
Priority provision continues to be for children of critical workers and those identified as vulnerable. You can find a list of critical workers who can access schools or educational settings and more details on vulnerable children here.
The full guidance on early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus outbreak can be found on GOV.UK.
After confirming on 28 May its 5 tests were met, the Government asked that plans should be made for provision to be extended from 1 June for:
- Early years settings and primary schools (reception, years 1 and 6)
- Secondary schools (some teacher contact for years 10 and 12)
- Pupil referral units (PRUs), (years 10 and 11)
- Special schools should work towards a phased return of more pupils across all year groups
Arrangements in Somerset
Safety factors, transport arrangements, staffing levels and the continuing need to prioritise provision for vulnerable children and children of critical workers means that some schools may only be able to offer this to some, but not all children in the stated year groups.
Parents and carers have been contacted directly by their child’s school if a place is available.
Headteachers and education leaders are best placed to make the right decisions around what is practical, possible and safe for children and staff, in their setting.
Not all schools will be able to offer the same level of provision at the same time, with split weeks, staggered starts and other special arrangements needed to make things work safely.
We understand some parents and carers hoping to return to work will have been disappointed provision isn’t available yet to them. This is a developing situation and the County Council is working closely with education leaders to further extend provision where possible.
Early years settings were asked to open to all children but risk assessments were needed to ascertain how many children could be accommodated at any one time. Settings in some cases have had to reduce the numbers of children they can safely care for and where this is the case priority has gone to 3 and 4 year-olds.
There is limited school transport due to a reduction in staff because of coronavirus and social distancing requirements. Our communities have pulled together brilliantly during this difficult time and we again need parents’ /carers’ support. We are therefore asking parents and carers to try and make their own arrangements for travel where possible so that we can try to meet the needs of all children. The details of what transport will be available were included in your communications from individual schools.
You can read the Government guidelines on extended provision here.
Advice for parents not affected by these arrangements and still home educating
BBC Bitesize have also launched online daily lessons. Find out more on the BBC Bitesize website
Keeping children safe online – Advice and guidance to help parents and carers to keep children safe online during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you can’t find the help you need, or your need is more urgent, please phone the
Somerset Coronavirus Helpline
Taking exams during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak– This guidance explains what will happen following the cancellation of exams in summer 2020.