COVID-19 FAQs

To help members stay apprised, here are some answers to the questions we're getting asked most often. We'll keep this updated as the situation progresses. Last updated 1 April 2021.

Email Updates

We are regularly emailing COVID-19 updates to members. If you are not receiving these, please update your contact details or email preferences.

Alternatively, you can view these for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland here.

LATEST UPDATES

UPDATE: 25 March 2021: 

Free School Meals & Easter holidays  

Schools do not need to provide lunch parcels or vouchers during the Easter holidays.  

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme, run by local authorities, which ran over Christmas will ensure that individuals, families and children who require it, including those eligible for free school meals, can receive the food and other support they need. 

The Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme will also launch at Easter.   

All LAs are providing either face to face provision, online/activity pack arrangements, or a combination of both – with plans taking account of the on-going COVID-19 restrictions.  The programme aims to provide “enriching activities and food for children, providing them with a chance to gain new experiences, socialise, undertake some physical activity, learn more about nutrition and food, and have fun!” 

Primary Assessment and data in 2021  

Some of our members have told us that some local authorities have been pressing primary schools to use past SATs papers, or complete teacher assessments, and to submit data to them based on the results.  

We raised this issue with the DfE and the Standards and Testing Agency earlier this week and are pleased that the STA confirmed in their update to schools that “As there were no formal assessments in summer 2021 academic year, schools should not be asked to provide assessment data to Ofsted or local authorities.” 

(18/3/21)

How do we keep our workplaces as safe as possible? 

Voice Community advocates: 

  •  Schools must ensure they have a “live” risk assessment – especially in the light of the new variant COVID. 
  • Schools must implement control measures such as working with consistent groups (bubbles), ventilating rooms, regular handwashing, social distancing wherever possible, and face coverings – especially in communal spaces and corridors. 
  • Staff should have the option to be tested twice a week 
  • Pupils should be tested twice each week in secondary schools (again this is optional) 
  • Schools should be given the authority to phase their reopening according to staff/pupils needs etc. 
  • Schools should be given the flexibility to assess their situation if levels of infection rise. 

In a nutshell, schools have a responsibility to ensure that the workplace is as safe as possible for staff and pupils within the legal parameters established by government.  Where risks exist, schools should introduce measures to mitigate them.  Testing and vaccination will also help to keep staff safe.  We believe that it is important for schools to be able to act dynamically should they need to address rising infection rates in their community. 

Further guidance can be found for Scotland here, Wales here and England here.