Coronavirus: Easter holidays
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Guidance from the DfE on Easter opening
The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance for schools about closing temporarily due to COVID-19. It includes a range of FAQs which includes a specific section on the Easter holidays.
Are schools opening over the Easter holidays?
Where possible, the Department encourage childcare providers, schools and colleges to continue to look after critical workers’ childcare and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.
We’ve produced another article which outlines who keyworkers are.
What happens if your setting is having difficulty opening over Easter?
Contact your local authority (or multi-academy trust, if relevant) if your setting needs support in making these arrangements.
When will teachers and other school staff take holiday?
We understand that this is a very difficult time for teachers and all school staff, and we are asking a lot of them to help the country fight this virus. We know that school leaders, and local authorities, will make sensible decisions on staffing and what breaks will be needed. But we are asking schools, wherever possible, to maintain provision for children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response and vulnerable children over the Easter holidays.
Schools may wish to consider adopting rota systems where appropriate to ensure that staff get appropriate breaks whilst managing provision through this challenging period.
Will support staff on term-time only contracts be paid over the Easter holidays?
The Department does not set pay or terms and conditions of employment for support staff. School leaders should discuss and agree any new working arrangement with individual support staff affected, and ensure that they have regard for contracts of employment.
Are schools expected to provide education as normal to pupils who are in attendance?
We understand that these are extraordinary times. The most important thing is that children of critical workers, and vulnerable children, are supervised and properly cared for at education settings. Emergency legislation will allow for the lifting of curriculum requirements for schools, giving flexibility to provide support, activities and education in the way they see fit.
Practical advice from one of our caseworkers
One of our caseworkers explained that as the guidance above is not definitive, it can leave certain decisions for school leaders to take. He explained it presents a scenario where schools can and should exercise their reasonable discretion as to which staff are required to continue to work during the Easter break.
Schools should be pragmatic with regards to the expectations on teaching staff during this period and seek agreement where possible.
With expectations on marking and assessment during this period, as Ofqual have cancelled all formal assessment including SATS, GCSEs and A-levels, as provision is significantly limited I would not expect that many schools will have strict expectations as to making although this will undoubtedly differ from school to school therefore best practice would be for those who have any concerns about expectations to agree a common way forward with their school.
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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.