Teacher Bulletin: latest information on reopening schools to all students, catch up and exams

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Teacher Bulletin

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This has been a very busy week with announcements on schools and colleges reopening to all students, increased catch-up funding and summer teacher assessments.

To make sure you can easily find the information you need, we’ve collected everything below, with links to all the latest guidance and advice.

Safely reopening schools and colleges to all students

Like you, our priority is getting children safely back into school, which is crucial for both their education and wellbeing. We also continue to take the safety of all education staff extremely seriously, and our guidance for all education settings has been based on the best medical advice.

Ahead of 8 March, we’re strengthening existing protective measures. As a temporary measure, staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing can’t be maintained as a temporary extra measure as the at-home testing regime is set up. Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings.

Secondary school and college students will take COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom. After an initial programme of 3 tests in school/college, students will be provided with 2 rapid tests to use each week at home. Staff in secondary schools will also be supplied with test kits to self swab and test themselves twice a week at home.

As always, you can find all the latest guidance on GOV.UK. We’ve also answered some of your most common questions in our Q&A.

Rapid covid testing


Exams 2021

Following our joint consultation with Ofqual in January, we’ve confirmed that this year grades will be determined by teachers, with students only assessed on what they have been taught.

Teachers will have the flexibility to draw on a variety of evidence in making assessments, including the optional use of questions from exam boards. Exam boards will also provide detailed guidance before the end of the Spring term. The guidance will be designed to minimise any additional burdens this year’s awarding process may place on teachers and staff.

The deadline for teachers to submit assessments to exam boards will be 18 June, to allow teachers as much time as possible to make their assessments. Results days for GCSEs, A levels and some vocational qualifications will take place during the week of 9 August.

You can find guidance on the assessment process on GOV.UK. We’ve also published a guide for parents and students - you might find it useful to share with them in your communications.



Helping pupils catch up

The return of all students to face-to-face education in schools and colleges will be supported with a new £700 million plan, focusing on an expansion of one-to-one and small-group tutoring programmes, as well as supporting the development of disadvantaged children in early years settings, and summer provision for those pupils who need it the most. You can read further details on the catch-up announcement and in this Q&A for parents.

Here is a reminder of the support already available to help your pupils.

Getting the most out of catch up premium funding

To support pupils’ educational recovery and wellbeing needs, schools are receiving £650m of funding this academic year.

The first payment was made in autumn with additional payments due in February/March and in the summer term. If schools do not spend their full allocation this academic year, they can carry the funding into next academic year.

The Education Endowment Foundation has published resources to help you implement a catch-up strategy and make best use of the funding, including case studies to highlight effective approaches.

View funding allocation details and guidance on the catch up premium.

National Tutoring Programme

Tutoring has been shown to boost learning by much as 3-5 months at a time. All state-maintained schools can access tutoring subsidised by 75% through the National Tutoring Programme, to support pupils (aged 5-16) who need extra help.

  • Want to find out more? Sign up to attend a national webinar for schools on Tuesday 2 March 2021, 4-4.40pm.
  • The NTP are offering bespoke information sessions in local areas for groups of schools. Please contact info@nationaltutoring.org.uk for more information.


Matt Rutter

"Why I'd recommend tutoring"

Assistant Headteacher, Matt Rutter, explains how the National Tutoring Programme has made a difference to his pupils on the DfE Teaching Blog


Has this Bulletin been forwarded to you?

We send out this Teacher Bulletin a few times per half term. It brings together some of the recent advice and information we’ve published. If you've received this Bulletin because a colleague has forwarded it to you and you'd like to get it directly, you can subscribe by following the link below. 

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