logo-education
0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

Changes expected on wearing face masks in schools

11 May 2021

Yesterday the DfE announced that, from 17th May, they will no longer recommend that secondary school age pupils wear face masks in classrooms.

Whether pupils should wear face coverings in schools has been hotly debated, with forceful opinions at both ends of the spectrum. The DfE guidance ‘recommended’ their use in classrooms rather than mandating them, which left scope for parents and wider groups to bring complaints and challenges over the implementation of the DfE guidance in school policies.

We were recently instructed by a multi-academy trust to defend proceedings issued in the High Court in an attempt to block the trust’s policy on recommending their use. Although the parent in question did not succeed in their action as the judge agreed with our submissions that the case being put forward was fundamentally flawed, it highlights the difficulty schools have faced in trying to navigate this complex issue. In addition, this all comes at a time when schools are grappling with teacher-assessed grades and providing pastoral care to pupils struggling with their mental health.

We expect that the DfE will continue to recommend face coverings be worn in communal spaces, such as school corridors. As such, the issue will no doubt rumble on, though hopefully for not too much longer.

Related opinions

Does the move into Step 4 mean the ending of Covid-19 restrictions within schools?

With the Prime Ministers announcement that he intends for Step 4 to begin on 19 July, this will also bring an end to the restrictions currently in place on education settings.

View blog

Responsibilities towards students identifying as non-binary

Our top tips for supporting transgender and non-binary pupils.

View blog

Advocacy in Action: Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (FGMPO)

The issue of Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders and the importance of education providers to act promptly.

View blog

School not liable for reckless actions of a student

The decision reinforces that the standard of the duty of care owed by schools is one or reasonableness.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up