Message from the DFE

We know that school and further education leaders, teachers and staff, as well as nurseries and childminders, have worked tirelessly over the last term. This has included their important role in contact tracing, to help in the national effort to limit the spread of the virus. We are aware that this has led to additional work over weekends and holidays and we are incredibly grateful for this.

Festive break – advice for early years providers
We know that many nurseries and childminders will continue to operate over the holiday period, providing invaluable support to parents who still require childcare during this time. Private, voluntary and independent providers, and maintained nursery schools can continue to open during the period and should continue to follow the guidance for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
School-based nurseries that only open during term-time should follow the arrangements for their school.

Updated guidance for parents and carers
We have updated our guidance on what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include information on Ofsted inspections from January 2021.
We have also provided information on the arrangements for GCSE and A level exams in summer 2021, entry tests for selective schools, and assessments in primary and junior schools.

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline – holiday hours
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) will be available over the holidays to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care. These helplines will, however, close on the bank holidays, and have shortened opening hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours:
24 December – 8am to 4pm
25 to 28 December – Closed
29 to 30 December – 8am to 6pm
31 December – 9am to 4pm
1 January – Closed
2 to 3 January – 10am to 6pm

Until 24 December, the helpline opening hours are:
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm
Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.
Please select option 1 or 2 if you require specific advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting. 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.
Please select option 3 or 4 for any other questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.