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1 October 2020

Government publishes a Temporary Continuity Direction making it a legal duty for schools to provide remote education to pupils unable to attend due to COVID-19

Sub-theme: Education

Summary

The government publishes a Temporary Continuity Direction under the Coronavirus Act 2020 regarding the provision of remote education in schools. The Direction makes clear that schools now have a legal duty to provide remote education for state-funded, school-age children unable to attend school due to COVID-19. The expectations of the quality of remote education remain those set out in the guidance for full opening published in July 2020. The intention of the Direction is to provide legal certainty for parents, teachers, schools and pupils that if pupils have to self-isolate at home, their education will not be disrupted. The Direction comes into force on 22 October 2020 and applies to community schools, community special schools, foundation schools, foundation special schools, voluntary schools, pupil referral units, non-maintained special schools, academy schools and alternative provision academies. It also applies to fee-paying independent schools, but only in respect of pupils whose places at those schools are wholly paid for out of public funds. The Direction does not apply to post-16 education.

The government also announces the provision of an additional 100,000 laptops to be made available to children for learning at home. Children eligible for the laptops include: disadvantaged children in years 3–11; disadvantaged, clinically extremely vulnerable children of all year groups unable to return to school; and children of all year groups unable to access remote education while attending a hospital school.

The government also announces a further £1m of additional funding for the expansion of the EdTech Demonstrator Programme (a network of schools and colleges that provide peer-to-peer support for the technology available for home learning). 80 new grants of £1,000 are also being given to further education providers across England to provide additional training and support for mentors and coaches specialising in assisting teachers with remote education.

Source(s)

Gov.uk press release

The Coronavirus Act 2020 Provision of Remote Education (England) Temporary Continuity Direction – Explanatory Note