Back to school

Plans to welcome pupils back to school safely 

7 September 2021 

Our education team has been working with schools and colleges to welcome all pupils back to school safely following the summer holidays.

The plan is to gradually reduce previous safety measures and to monitor the impact of these changes on positive cases, using this to inform the pace at which further measures are removed.

In general, the measures that will still be in place include good hygiene and ventilation and the recommendation that face coverings be worn on school transport. Some schools may also retain one-way systems and staggered start and finish times. Schools and colleges will no longer be required to have all desks facing forward and keep children in strict bubbles.

With so much information – the key points to remember are:

  • Under the new national arrangements, there will be no need for pupils to isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19;
  • Secondary schools have been carrying out two lateral flow device tests for every pupil in year 7 and above, three to five days apart, on their return; 
  • Additional government funding that paid for extra school buses and taxis has now ended, so these will no longer be in place;
  • Vaccinations are now available for young people aged 16 and 17. We encourage all those eligible, to take up the vaccine offer as soon as possible;
  • Children aged 12-15 with specific underlying health conditions that put them at an increased risk of serious COVID-19, or who live with a person who is immunosuppressed, are eligible for the vaccine.

Read more in our back-to-school media release or by visiting the gov.uk website