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Coronavirus and Schools - FAQs

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

What is my child’s school doing to reduce the risk?

Schools are emailed advice daily from the government in relation to coronavirus. They’ll be following guidelines closely and should be encouraging children to wash their hands frequently. It’s entirely up to the school, whether hand sanitiser will be allowed in school and how they go about ensuring cleanliness is kept to a high level. If you have not yet been informed of what your child’s school is doing to reduce the risk, ask the teacher or at the school office and they’ll be able to inform you of procedures they’ve put in place.

Can I pull my child out of school?

You can request absence from school, as you would if you were going on holiday or attending an important event, however bear in mind that in doing this the absence may go down as unauthorised. I’d strongly advise you speak with the head teacher about your concerns. It is likely that there will be other parents with similar worries and the school may be able to send out an email or letter to inform everyone of the options available.

If you want to pull your child out of school permanently and home educate them instead, you can do this by deregistering them. You can email the school informing them that you are deregistering your child and that they’ll no longer be attending. There are many support groups on Facebook for this. Please be aware that if you choose to deregister your child, you’ll lose their school place completely and will have to reapply if you choose to send them to school again in the future.

Will I get fined if I pull my child out of school?

It is possible that you will be subject to a fine, as you would if you go on holiday in term time. Fines are £60 per child per parent if you pay within the first 21 days. So for 2 children with both parents, that is a £240 fine. This doubles to £120 per child per parent if you pay between 22-28 days and after 28 days you may be subject to a court order which could mean a fine of over £2000 or a 3 month jail sentence.

Edited to add: you will not be subject to a fine if your child is below compulsory school age. That currently means all children that have turned five after January 1st 2020 are not compulsory school age. Children turning five between 1st January and 31st March 2020 will be classed as compulsory school age on 1st April 2020. Children born on or before 31st December 2019 are of compulsory school age already.

What will happen if my child’s attendance falls below 95%?

Most schools aim for 95% attendance per pupil which works out to 9.5 days missed over the school year. Persistent absence (PA) will be recorded if attendance drops below 90%. Your child’s school should have an attendance policy that you can read, either on their website or accessible via the school office. Children with low attendance may be monitored more closely and you’ll likely be contacted by the school to discuss it.

What happens if there is a case of coronavirus at my child’s school?

Currently the advice is that anyone that has contracted or come into contact with someone that has coronavirus should self isolate for seven days. Schools may close as a precautionary measure, or send affected people home to self isolate.

What happens if the schools do close?

Firstly you’ll need to make childcare arrangements if you still have to work. You may be able to arrange a childcare swap with a friend or relative so that you can.

Take advantage of people that usually work in schools or nurseries - people that you know that are teachers, LSAs, support staff etc might be available to help you out.

Your child’s school may have made arrangements for some online learning in preparation for a lock down. If you haven’t heard anything yet, ask them what their plans are. There are lots of online resources you can access here. Plus for more info on how to get a whole load of activities and ideas, head over to my Facebook group.

How much time do I need to spend educating my child from home?

Not much time at all. In fact, just an hour or so will suffice. Your child’s school day is broken up into chunks and a lot of that time is taken up by lunchtime, break time, assemblies etc. Check out this blog here to see what I mean.

I’d like to keep screens to a minimum. What alternatives are there?

Learning happens everywhere! It’s important to remember that. If you’re keeping screens to a minimum you could choose a time when screens are allowed and set a timer. Outside of screen time, the possibilities are endless! Projects are a great way of keeping learning exciting for older children, and getting outdoors to explore the world makes learning easy for multiple ages. Head over to my Facebook group for more info on ideas and activities for ages 4-11.

What about upcoming exams, like the SATs and GCSEs?

Your child’s school may have made provisions for this. Some schools may use Skype or other platforms to hold classes online, they may send out revision work by email. There are also lots of resources you can buy like SATs and GCSE revision guides and workbooks and there will be lots of private tutors available too. You can find a tutor locally on Tutor Hunt, or ask around to see if anyone can recommend someone locally. Always ask to see a private tutor’s DBS certificate.

It’s also worth noting that whilst there is a lot of focus on SATs in primary schools, they are there as a measure for the government to see how well the school is performing.

For more information about coronavirus, keep up to date via the Government website here.

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