Schools and education | COVID-19 Schools and Education | Sutton Council
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) : Latest information and advice.

What is the current situation with the COVID -19 (Coronavirus) and where to find more information.

Information from the London Borough of Sutton

COVID-19 Schools and Education

Schools and education

Schools reopening in Sutton 1 June

Following a period of partial closures since 23 March, schools/settings have been advised by the Government that Early Years settings and primary schools can reopen to pupils (Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6) from 1 June with Secondary Schools offering some face to face provision to Year 10 and 12 from 15 June as part of gradual measures to release the ‘lockdown’ period.

Schools / EY settings in Sutton that are reopening

It is the decision of individual schools/education settings as to what additional provision they are able to make available from 1 June safely taking into account the guidance issued by the Government and the individual risk assessments schools/settings have been undertaking. It may not be possible for schools to make provision for all year groups available straight away depending on their risks assessments and the level of staffing available. Schools/settings will be communicating with parents on their plans and parents should contact individual schools if they have any questions about these plans.

Guidance for education settings

All of the guidance from the Government relating to Education that has been issued to Local Authorities and schools can be found here. The Local Authority is working with its schools to follow this guidance which is being updated on a regular basis. This guidance covers a wide variety of subjects including:

  • Guidance for parents who are critical workers or who have children that are vulnerable
  • COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures in schools
  • Primary and Secondary Guidance relating to reopening from 1 or 15 June
  • How Local Authorities and schools should support vulnerable children and young people
  • Guidance on specific subjects such as free school meals, remote learning and online learning resources, information on exams and assessment
  • Support and guidance to parents and carers

Frequently Asked Questions

With schools starting to re-open to additional pupils there are a number of questions that parents will have. Whilst the Government have issued a lot of guidance on these issues, it can be difficult to get through and can change frequently. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions below to try and make it easier for parents to find answers to the common questions as easily as possible.

The Government have indicated that Early Years settings and primary schools can reopen to pupils (Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6) from 1 June with Secondary Schools offering some face to face provision to Year 10 and 12 from 15 June as part of gradual measures to release the ‘lockdown’ period. Frequently asked questions to this stage of the national response to COVID-19 can be found here. We have not sought to replicate the extensive guidance already provided by the Department of Education that can be found here but rather provide responses to FAQ as they relate to the Local Area.

Whose decision is it to open schools/education settings? Schools or the Local Authority?

It is the decision of individual schools/education as to what additional provision they are able to make available taking into account the guidance issued by the Government. It is positive news for parents and young people that the Government has announced a phased and safe return to schools and EY settings for some pupils however schools/education settings are undertaking risk assessments that will be setting out what provision is possible. It may not be possible for schools to make provision for all year groups available straight away depending on their risks assessments and the level of staffing available. Schools will be communicating with parents on their plans and parents should contact individual schools if they have any questions about these plans.

I have a pupil that is in the EY, Reception, Year 1, Year 6 - do I have to send my child back to school?

No. Parents will not be fined and no actions will be taken on parents that choose not to send their child back to school during this period. Parents are however encouraged to send pupils back to school.

My school is not offering the provision that the Government have said that they should and I need this provision to enable me to get back to work. What can I do?

You should discuss this with your school in the first instance to understand their plans for reopening if they are not making provision immediately available for certain year groups. As stated above, schools are responsible for decisions on reopening and the Local Authority supports schools in this process. If you would like to talk to someone in the Local Authority about your situation you can contact suttonadmissions@cognus.org.uk.

If my child cannot attend his normal school/ education setting can I send my child to an alternative school/setting?

This is unlikely to be possible. Schools/settings have a very complex job managing reopening plans, putting in place measures to adhere to social distancing guidelines as well as manage the understandable anxieties that pupils/young children will have on returning to a school environment that will be different from what they are used to. It will be difficult for schools to admit pupils from other settings and we would only consider supporting this where there are no alternatives. Parents should discuss their situation with their schools/settings in the first instance but parents can also contact the LBS for advice on this and support in finding alternative arrangements where required. If your child has an EHCP, please contact your EHCP coordinator directly If your child does not have an EHCP, please call 020 8323 0457 or email suttonadmissions@cognus.org.uk. If you child attends a early years setting, such as a day nursery, preschool or childminder, please contact Sutton’s Information service familyinfo@sutton.gov.uk or laura.byrnes@sutton.gov.uk 

How is SEND transport being organised? 

We continue to provide transport to those that are eligible for SEND transport. We have produced a guidance document for families and schools which describes how we expect SEND transport to work during the period up until the end of term. You can find a copy here. Clearly, the organisation of transport is heavily impacted by the fluid and rapidly changing situation and the safety measures set out in Government guidance. We are doing all we can to organise transport as safely as possible. If you have any questions about SEND transport please contact SEN.Transport@cognus.org.uk

My child has been submitted for an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) can I get a place at my school/education setting?

Not necessarily. Unless the parent meets the vulnerable pupil / critical worker criteria then there is no requirement on schools/education settings to make a place available for those that do not currently have an EHC plan but may be in the assessment process. Specialist provision is working to put in plans to increase the number of pupils that can return to school but parents should contact schools directly to discuss.

Will schools be delivering a curriculum to pupils that are returning to school?

Schools will be endeavouring to put in place schemes of work for pupils that are returning to school but inevitably it will be difficult for schools to deliver the national curriculum in the normal way. Schools will continue to deliver online/remote learning for pupils that are not returning to school. 

Will schools be able to exclude pupils during this period?

It would be extremely unusual for a school/education setting to exclude children in these very unusual circumstances. However, schools/education settings must ensure the safety of staff and pupils in their care and therefore they retain the right to ask some pupils or parents to no longer attend for a fixed period or permanently.

Will I still be able to access Free School Meals if my child is not attending school?

Yes, those attending school will be able to access a free school meal as they would do normally and those that are not attending school can continue to access the national free school meal voucher through their school. 

Will schools be closed over the summer holidays?

This is currently the expectation but the Government is yet to take a definitive position on this at this point.

Still have questions? People you can contact in Sutton

If you are a parent and are unable to find an answer to your question in the guidance above or on our frequently asked questions document, you should contact your school in the first instance, or if you have a question that relates to a service that is provided by the London Borough of Sutton, Cognus or or any other organisation in the local area you can use the list of contacts on our Local offer for specific enquiries.

Information for parents 

What parents need to know about schools and education closures during the outbreak 

If your childcare provider is closed and you are eligible for a childcare place during the pandemic, contact the Sutton’s Family information Service to find alternative childcare 020 8770 6000 familyinfo@sutton.gov.uk 

Online resources available to help parents to support their child’s home learning

Children aged 0-5 years

Hungry little minds have lots of fun activities for families with children 0-5 years.

Tiny happy people activities to support babies and young children’s communication skills 

Children aged 5 - 18 years

Oaks National Academy is a online classroom development by national leaders in education 

BBC bitesize 

Young carers 

Information and advice when considering the needs of your Young Carers:

  1. Do you know who your Young Carers are? If a child lives with a family member who has a mental or physical illness, disability or who misuses drugs or alcohol, then that student is very likely to pick up some level of emotional, practical, personal care and/or support. If you are not sure who your Young Carers are, now is the time to start having those conversations with staff and students.
  2. Speak to your Young Carers to see how they and their families are currently managing mentally, physically, practically, financially etc. If their family member is self-isolating, it is very likely that their caring role has increased
  3. Have any students, not identified as Young Carers, suddenly started arriving late for school, appear distracted, unusually tired or you’ve seen a change in their behaviour? They may be a Young Carer with a family member self-isolating, so please speak with them to check.
  4. Add Young Carers to your list of vulnerable students, this includes considering whether they need to be part of the cohort of vulnerable children coming into school. 
  5. Please be aware that safeguarding issues may arise if they start assuming inappropriate caring roles due to an overwhelmed health and social care system. Also this is likely to be a time when Young Carers feel increased levels of loneliness and isolation.
  6. If the family caring needs increase, is there a plan for making sure that other friends and family can step in? Is there a plan for if the Young Carers gets ill or develops Covid-19?
  7. If you haven’t already, appoint a Young Carers Lead to oversee this process specifically for Young Carers.
  8. Provide all Young Carers with the details of support services that they can access during this time – encouraging them to call us at Sutton Carers Centre Young Carers Service for emotional as well as practical reasons.
  9. Please ensure they know that concerns about a family member’s care can still be discussed with the Local Authority on 020 8770 5000 (24 hours for safeguarding concerns or for ‘emergency covering care’) and health concerns via NHS 111 or 999 in an emergency.
  10. Please call Sutton Carers Centre if you would like to discuss or refer a Young Carer and continue to follow your usual safeguarding procedures.

Available Support at Sutton Carers Centre:

  • Sutton Carers Centre will remain open during our usual office hours to provide information, advice and support to you as professional colleagues as well as Young and Adult Carers and their families and friends. 
  • For the time being they will maintain skeleton staff in the Centre office, with all remaining staff working from home to maintain telephone and internet-based service levels.
  • Sutton Carers Centre have postponed all face-to-face, group and individual support sessions (unless exceptional and appropriately risk-assessed), but can provide a skilled, consistent telephone support service that can help with concerns including financial impact, practical advice around contingency planning, and emotional support.
  • Services will continue to Parent Carers of children who are ill or disabled, as well as Carers of all ages who are supporting an Adult Child, Sibling, Spouse, Parent/Grandparent or other family member or friend.