1st May – Coronavirus – Daily update to all early years

Department for Education

This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus Act 2020 – Notices to temporarily remove or relax statutory requirements in education and childcare

We recognise that during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, flexibility will be needed in education and childcare settings. Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Secretary of State for Education can issue notices to temporarily remove or relax statutory requirements and provisions in academy arrangements where this is an appropriate and proportionate action relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Secretary of State for Education has issued four notices to:

  • disapply offences for non-attendance in schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, so that parents will not be penalised if their child does not attend school.

  • modify pupil registration requirements so that a child attending a school on a temporary basis because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak should not be registered as a pupil and should return to their usual school once it reopens.

  • disapply the duty on Ofsted to undertake regular inspections of state-funded schools within prescribed intervals. Duties on other bodies to provide a statement of action and relating to the inspection of collective worship and denominational education are also disapplied.

  • modify the duty on local authorities to secure special educational provision and on health commissioning bodies to arrange health provision in accordance with education, health and care (EHC) plans, so that they can discharge this by using their ‘reasonable endeavours’.

The notices apply from 1 May 2020 to 31 May 2020. We will continuously review whether these notices are an appropriate and proportionate action in all the circumstances relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). Further notices may be made as a result.

We have also amended regulations to alter timescales relating to EHC plans. The usual timescales for EHC needs assessment and plan processes will be replaced by duties to act as soon as is reasonably practicable (or in line with any other timing requirement in the amended regulations). This guidance document will cover the period from 1 May 2020 to 25 September 2020 and will be kept under review.

The guidance document can be found here:

The information below has not changed since yesterday.

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours:
8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when outside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found at:

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

Resources are currently available for KS1, KS2 and KS3 and can be used in various settings including schools and at home:

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.​UK

All of the Department for Education’s coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.​UK at:

Our main schools guidance, the ‘actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak’ will be regularly kept up to date. Any new advice for schools on specific issues, such as food, exams or safeguarding, will be linked from: