20 January – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Update to all Education and Childcare Settings and Providers



Department for Education




This is your email to keep you updated on the government’s response to COVID-19. If you have colleagues who would like to receive this email directly, please ask them to use this subscription form.

Today’s email includes:

  • updates to guidance following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the end of Plan B
  • information for schools about the extension of the trust and school improvement offer
  • information for schools and colleges about the extension of the exam support service
  • an update for schools on the National Tutoring Programme (NTP)
  • information for teachers and leaders about the February application window for national professional qualifications (NPQs)

Updates to guidance following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the end of Plan B

We have updated the following guidance documents to reflect the changes made following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the end of Plan B:

Extension of the trust and school improvement offer

We are extending the focus of the Department’s current trust and school improvement offer to any school or trust that would benefit from it due to disruption caused by COVID-19. Support will be provided by an experienced system leader and will reflect the specific challenges of the school or trust. This might include (but will not be limited to) supporting them to overcome:

  • difficulties delivering remote education for those pupils who are out of school
  • low pupil attendance rates
  • significant staff shortages, including leadership
  • any other factors which would put schools or trusts at risk of disruption caused by COVID-19

If you feel your school or trust would benefit from the support of a system leader, please contact school.improvement@education.gov.uk.

We have also been working with school leaders to share case studies on developing and adopting flexible learning approaches. We have now added more case studies, which illustrate ways in which some schools have operated when faced with staff shortages.

Extension of the exam support service to March 2022

DfE is extending the exam support service to allow for costs related to additional invigilators required as a result of staff absences. This is for centres running previous ineligible exams and assessments in January, February and March 2022 that are not being run as part of the autumn series. Those which are part of the autumn series are still eligible for the full range of costs covered by the exam support service.

The exam support service guidance and online claim form have been updated to reflect this change and allow claims for these costs. Centres should use qualification code ‘10000001 – extended ESS’ when making a claim. Full guidance to help you complete the form is also available.

Claims for exams undertaken between Friday 1 October 2021 and Friday 25 February 2022 should be made by Friday 4 March 2022.

Claims for exams undertaken between Monday 28 February 2022 and Thursday 31 March 2022 should be made by Wednesday 6 April 2022.

Update on the National Tutoring Programme (NTP)

If any school has yet to engage with the NTP, please do so now. Please see the ‘How to’ guide where you will find information about how to use the funding on offer and the different tuition routes available for schools. This includes case studies from schools who are already benefitting from the program.

The second instalment of School-Led tutoring funding has now also been issued, with local authorities receiving funds on the final working day of December 2021 and academies on Tuesday 11 January 2022. Information on how this money can be used is available within the School-Led tutoring guidance.

To ensure high quality tuition is offered to all pupils, schools can book their nominated Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and non-QTS staff onto the specialist training course delivered by the Educational Development Trust and recognised by the Chartered College of Teaching.

For more information on School-Led tutoring, please visit the NTP website.

National professional qualifications (NPQs) – February application window

The new suite of NPQs is now available for teachers and leaders who want to develop their expertise in leadership and specialist areas of teaching practice.

To support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning as a result of COVID-19, all teachers and leaders employed in state-funded schools, as well as those employed in state-funded organisations that offer 16 to 19 places in England, can now access fully funded training scholarships to undertake NPQs.

The application window to begin an NPQ in February closes shortly (exact closing dates vary by training provider), and we encourage all teachers and leaders, particularly those eligible for training scholarships, to undertake these evidence-led qualifications to invest in their careers and secure improved outcomes for children.

You can learn more about the qualifications, and how to apply, by watching the recording of the NPQ live webinar from Thursday 25 November 2021. Alternatively, you can also visit the NPQ reforms guidance for further information.

The information below has not changed since our last update

Department for Education COVID-19 helpline

The Department for Education COVID-19 helpline and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advice service are available to answer any questions you have about COVID-19 relating to education and childcare settings and children’s social care.