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NHS Test and Trace COVID-19 app – resources for schools, parents and young people

Today, NHS Test and Trace has launched the NHS COVID-19 app. The app has been launched to help control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It will do this by alerting people who may have been exposed to infection so that they can take action.

The app is available to download on smartphones for anyone aged 16 or over. This means that some students in year 11, students in years 12, 13 and in further education colleges will be eligible to use the app and benefit from its features. In addition to the guidance for schools and further education colleges which we published yesterday, NHS Test and Trace has published guidance and resources to support the use of the app which are available to download.

Schools and further education colleges may find the fact sheet for parents and the poster about storing phones in lockers useful.

Personal protective equipment deliveries to schools and further education colleges

Schools and further education colleges have been sent a small amount of personal protective equipment (PPE). This one-off distribution of PPE was provided free of charge by the Department of Health and Social Care to help build resilience across the education sector to respond to any suspected cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) arising in schools and colleges. The PPE should be used strictly in accordance with guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, and should not be re-purposed or used for non-coronavirus (COVID-19) related situations.

If your school or further education college has not received the PPE delivery, please check for undelivered parcels at your local Royal Mail depot. Following this, you can notify the Department using this online form. The online form will be available until 6pm on Wednesday 30 September.

Personal protective equipment available to children’s homes, secure children’s homes and residential special schools

Children’s homes, secure children’s homes and residential special schools are able to order personal protective equipment (PPE) free of charge from the Department of Health and Social Care PPE portal. The PPE should be used strictly in accordance with guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, and should not be re-purposed or used for non-coronavirus (COVID-19) related situations.

Eligible settings have been sent an email inviting them to register for the PPE portal. Emails have been sent to the address that we hold on Get Information About Schools (GIAS). Any setting that has not yet registered with the portal will receive a second invitation email in the next week.

From 2 October, if you have not received this invitation email, please contact the Department of Health and Social Care customer service support team:

Phone: 0800 876 6802

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 7am to 7pm

Callers will be asked to provide their Unique Reference Number (URN) when contacting the team to authenticate their eligibility.

Parents to receive letter from NHS on annual flu vaccinations

This week, parents and carers of children in years 7 and below will receive a letter from the NHS reminding them that it is time for their child to receive their annual flu vaccination. The letter also provides details of where the vaccinations will take place and the need for parents and carers to provide consent before the vaccination can be administered.

The information below hasn’t changed since our last update

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline opening hours

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline remains available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Please listen carefully to the available options and select the most appropriate to your nursery, school, or college’s current situation.

Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm

Advice service for nurseries, schools and colleges to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Public Health England (PHE) has introduced a new dedicated advice service, delivered by NHS Business Services Authority, for nurseries, schools and colleges. The service is for those needing support on the action they should take when they have been informed of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their setting (i.e. a pupil or staff member testing positive).

It can be reached by calling the Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on 0800 046 8687 and selecting option 1. This option will take you through to a dedicated team of NHS Business Services Authority advisors who will work through a risk assessment with you to identify close contacts, and will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice. Advisors will be responsible for referring more complex cases to the PHE regional health protection team, as necessary, following a triaging of your circumstances during the call.

Phone: 0800 046 8687 – option 1

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm

Translations of guidance for parents and carers available

We have translated our guidance for parents and carers with children in nursery, school, or college in the autumn term.

The guidance is now available in the following languages:

Chinese – traditionalChinese – simplified
Health England have produced a letter for schools to distribute to parents which explains when a person requires a coronavirus test and what the symptoms of coronavirus are. The Department would be grateful if you could share and circulate this letter amongst parents at your school.The intention of the letter is to help prevent children being taken out of school unnecessarily and answer some of the questions parents may have around testing.You can view the letter here.

Due to the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are providing additional funding to enable further education funded institutions to continue to provide meals over the 2020 summer holiday to students eligible for free meals in further education in the 2019/20 academic year.

Institutions should continue to provide meals using their existing arrangements over the summer for students who were eligible and claiming for free meals in further education during the summer term. Institutions need to confirm arrangements and support with eligible students before the end of the summer term.

Further information on this funding can be found in the guidance on free meals in further education funded institutions in 2019/20.

Guidance on taking exams during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have updated the guidance on taking exams during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include more information on the GCSE, AS and A level autumn exam series and a new section on the arrangements and timing of summer 2021 exams.

Funding available for expert help to get set up on a digital platform

We are offering free, expert technical support for schools to get set up on an accredited digital education platform. You can apply to get set up on one of two free-to-use digital education platforms: Google’s G Suite for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education.

Education platforms can support children at home, but also help you support children when they are attending school, for example by improving parent-teacher communications and making homework more interactive. The platforms are purpose-built for remote education. Adopting these platforms now will unlock new ways of working to enhance educational outcomes and school operational efficiencies.

Schools and trusts can apply via The Key, which also provides feature comparison and case studies on how schools are making the most of these platforms. It also provides impartial advice on which platform is right for your school.

Support with remote education

We have launched the EdTech Demonstrator programme, a network of schools and colleges funded to provide peer-to-peer support on making the best use of technology.

The EdTech Demonstrator programme provides advice, guidance and training on ways technology can be used effectively to support education, reduce teacher workload and improve communication. This includes training on how to use education platforms such as Google G Suite for Education and, Microsoft Office 365 effectively. Support can be tailored to the needs of your school or college and will be based on your start point, confidence in technology practices and the time available to senior leaders to engage in this continuing professional development offer.

You can find out more about the programme and register your interest in receiving free support.

Plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education at the start of the autumn term

The guidance for the full opening of schools, early years and colleges at the start of the autumn can be found here:

Full opening of schools from the start of the autumn termActions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreakFull opening of special schools and other specialist settings from the start of the autumn termWhat further education colleges and providers will need to do from the start of the 2020 autumn termWhat parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn termRe-opening buildings and campuses for higher education (HE)

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the helpline.

Handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when utside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

Please see the latest guidance and video on handwashing from the NHS.

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene. E-Bug has published posters on hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes, to display in bathrooms, classrooms and shared spaces.

BCP Educational Psychology Service

Telephone Consultation Line for Parents and Carers
As part of the response to COVID-19, BCP Council EP Service
are offering parents and carers the opportunity to speak to
an Educational Psychologist (EP) about their child while
educational settings are closed. Click here

BCP Council Volunteer Hub

Dear All,

BCP Council has launched a Volunteer Hub and dedicated helpline to support vulnerable people who need vital support while isolating at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

The dedicated helpline can provide a range of support, from organising deliveries of food and household supplies to people in need, and providing information and advice. Additionally, staff working through the Volunteer Hub can make regular telephone calls to help keep people’s spirits up during periods of isolation.

Councillor Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council, said, “We are delighted to launch the Volunteer Hub and dedicated helpline to support our most vulnerable residents across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. 

“Through our Together We Can community response we have more than 1500 volunteers plus council staff who can help our most vulnerable residents with picking up food and household supplies, as well as provide a cheerful voice to break up those long days of self-isolation. 

“I know that this is a stressful and worrying time for everyone and there are some residents across our three towns who desperately need help with accessing food and every day household items.  I would encourage anyone who is in this position to call our dedicated helpline so that we can connect you with our volunteers and get you the support you need.”

The dedicated helpline is 0300 123 7052 and will be open 8am – 8pm seven days a week 

Residents, businesses and charities are being encouraged to share the dedicated helpline with anyone they think may be vulnerable and without support.

Want to volunteer?

People wanting to get involved and help with the Together We Can Volunteer Hub can register their details by visiting:  Please do not call the helpline number as this is only for vulnerable residents who need vital help.

Many Thanks

Cllr Simon McCormack