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The coronavirus pandemic has meant that the world has needed to adapt and change quickly in order to continue to function and operate everyday situations. These unprecedented times have meant that the normal rules, regulations and processes that we are used to have become inflexible, often irrelevant and simply do not provide for the sort of circumstances and challenges that schools are now facing. Added to that is the steady flow of guidance from Government which has had us all double checking our usual approach to most circumstances.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 10 May 2020 about the plans to re-open schools on a phased basis from 1 June 2020 and the subsequent Government Guidance (links below) that was issued to support this, we have developed this back to school toolkit to assist schools and academies in their planning. This is a collection of advice from experts across the Browne Jacobson Education team. We have read the guidance and used our knowledge and expertise to give to you a toolkit of advice and top tips covering health and safety, employment and HR, parents and pupils and governance.

The Government has issued specific guidance for the education sector setting out the steps, including protective measures, schools should consider and implement before opening and once opened. For now, the current guidance you should refer to is:

  1. Planning guide for primary schools
  2. Opening schools for more children and young people: initial planning framework for schools in England
  3. Actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020
  4. Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings
  5. What parents and carers need to know about schools and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak

The Government’s initial planning framework (see third link), is intended to be a starting point for schools and trusts to then develop their own specific and tailored plans. The planning guide for primary schools (see first link) is intended to build on that, and give the next level down of detail from the framework, and confirms that it is not required to be followed by schools but contains suggestions which are hoped will be helpful, potentially combined with other approaches, to support the decision making of schools.

Together, the initial framework and planning guide provide a key action list and a step by step guide in relation to some key themes, such as preparing the school premises, reviewing the availability of staff, communication with parents and staff, managing pupil and staff wellbeing and protective measures and hygiene.

We strongly recommend that you read the Government guidance and information provided. This gives lots of information that you need to think about.

The information contained in this back to school toolkit is correct as at 19 May 2020  and we will continue to update sections as new information comes to light. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries that arise following further Government announcements.

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