The Director of Community and Children’s Services to be heard.
The Director of Community and Children’s Services was heard relative to the COVID-19 and return to school update. Members were advised that the Prime Minister had announced new temporary measures following the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the UK as follows:
· Schools had been asked to set up asymptomatic test sites on secondary school sites in the first week of January. Tests, PPE, and funding to support the workforce would be provided.
· Ofsted had confirmed that secondary schools would not be inspected, unless there were urgent concerns, during the first week of schools’ return in January.
· Face coverings were to be worn in communal areas in all settings for staff, visitors and pupils or students in year 7 and above, unless exempt, and pupils or students (in year 7 or above) were to continue to wear face coverings on public and dedicated school transport unless exempt.
· All eligible staff and students aged 12 and over were to be encouraged to take up the offer of the vaccine, including boosters.
· The control measures set out in the guidance, and health and safety legislation applied equally to state and independent schools.
· Ofqual confirmed contingency arrangements to support students in the event that exams in England cannot go ahead next year due to the pandemic. The government intended for exams to take place next summer but if they were not able to continue safely or fairly, due to the pandemic, contingency arrangements would be in place to ensure that schools and colleges were well prepared to enable students to achieve their qualifications. Following a consultation, the Department for Education and Ofqual, the qualifications regulator, had confirmed that students would receive teacher assessed grades based on a range of their work, similar to this summer. Ofqual had published guidance for teachers on how they should collect evidence of students’ work during the academic year.
RESOLVED, that the update be received.