COVID-19 Schools and Education

Schools and education

 Rapid testing 

Taking a rapid Lateral Flow Device(LFD)  test twice a week is recommended for all adults and secondary school aged pupils in England.  

If you live with, or are in a childcare or support bubble with someone who attends or works at a school, college or nursery or childminders taking regular rapid lateral flow tests will help find more COVID-19 cases and break the chain of transmission. Primary school-age children (11 years) and younger do not need to take regular tests.

If you do not have symptoms, there are a number of different ways you can access rapid tests to take at home. You can:

  • Collect rapid test kits from a number of local sites in Sutton, including most local pharmacies and the Sutton Civic Offices. You do not need to book an appointment but please check opening times before you go as some sites are only open in the afternoon. 

  • Book a supervised test  at a local pharmacy. 

  • Order a pack of 7 kits to be delivered to your home. Order online or call 119 (lines are open 7am to 11pm and calls are free)

  • Your employer may provide testing kits.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test

Test results can be reported online ( or by calling 119 every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day they take the test.

More information on rapid testing.


COVID-19 safe schools 

Schools and education settings will continue to adhere to the strict infection control measures required by the Government. COVID-19 testing is also being rolled out across early years’ settings, primary, secondary and college education for staff and pupils (where appropriate). The Government has published various studies which demonstrate that schools are not a driver of infections and are safe, examples include Schools Infection Study (SIS) and the Surveillance in Schools study (sKIDS).


Information for parents

Parents should visit “What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges” for the latest guidance and information.

All education settings  will be communicating with parents directly about the measures of control in place for all young children,l pupils and staff. Parents are advised to contact their education setting for specific details of each setting’s arrangements if they are unclear. 

Links to Government guidance are below (some will be subject to further updates).

Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) should also refer guidance for full opening of special schools and other specialist settings 


What should I do if I am concerned about my child attending school?

For the vast majority of issues or concerns relating to children returning to education, parents should contact their education setting. However, for issues relating to education support services parents should contact the relevant departments below:

  • School admissions:

  • SEND transport:

  • Free childcare entitlement and Family Information Service: or call 020 8770 6000.

Although some parents of vulnerable pupils and pupils of critical workers may have concerns about attending school, it is really important for their educational progress, wellbeing and wider development that children and young people do attend their normal timetable at their schools or setting . 


Pupils that are extremely clinically vulnerable (shielding)

If pupils or staff are clinically extremely vulnerable they should follow shielding guidance. Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils should have by now returned to their education setting, travelling to school, early years setting or college

Transport for London are running bus services in a similar way to how they did during the autumn term. This means extra services on some routes, with some adjustments to services that ran last year to reflect demand. These include:

  • Up to half of buses on certain higher-frequency routes signed as 'school services', generally between 07:30 and 09:00 and 14:30 and 16:30.

  • A full service on our existing school day-only routes (routes generally numbered 600-699)  

Schools are also encouraged to stagger their start times. Many schools in Sutton do this anyway in order to reduce demand on peak services.

The Council is also undertaking a number of initiatives to promote safe walking and cycling in the Borough - more information can be found on the COVID-19 Safer, Active, Greener Streets section. TfL have also produced guidance and advice for young people on how to travel safely as well as a journey planning tool in light of current Covid restrictions. If at all possible, children and young people should be walking or cycling to school from the start of the Autumn term onwards.


Exam results summer 2021 

Pupils will not sit formal GCSE’s, AS and A level  exams this summer, instead their results will be determined by a Teacher assessments. Schools and colleges have received guidance on how they should undertake their assessments and award grades. Schools and colleges will inform parents and pupils on the details of how grades will be awarded this year. Parents or pupils that are unsure of the arrangements should contact their school, college or setting.

This Department for education blog provides information to parents and pupils on what to do if they feel their grade is not correct. 

Dedicated Transport (SEND Transport)

Dedicated transport is used to take pupils to and from school where there is a statutory requirement to do so; this is primarily for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND). These are routes/vehicles that are not accessible to the general public. The policy for the period from 1 September 2020 replaces previous guidance issued on 1 June 2020. FAQs and the letter sent to parents of pupils eligible for travel assistance is included for reference. This policy remains subject to review.

If you have any questions about SEND transport please contact 


Free School Meals (in term time)

Schools will be providing free school meals for all eligible pupils as they do normally. 

Free School Meals (in school holidays) 

To support families eligible for Free School Meals  and eligible families that do not have school age children during the school holidays  the Council has distributed over £250k worth of vouchers during the Christmas, Easter and   half term breaks. 

Most families eligible for vouchers (i.e. families of school aged children) received these directly through their school. For more information and for details of how families without school age children were also able to receive a food voucher, please click here


Holiday Activities and Food Programme

The Council in collaboration with local  holiday activity  providers will be providing the Department for Education funded Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) Programme during part of the school holidays in 2021. 

School aged pupils (5-16) eligible for Free School Meals are able to access up to 16 hours a week, over a total of  six weeks a year of funded holiday activities and food during the school holidays. The first phase of delivery of the HAF programmes was one week over the Easter Holidays.  The Council are now making preparations for four week during the  the Summer holidays 

To find out more details about this programme click here.

Guidance for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings

If you are a holiday activity provider and are interested in taking part in the programme for the summer holidays please contact: