3 March – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Update to all education and childcare settings and providers

FAO: All Schools / All Phases




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:

  • information for schools on accessing tutoring through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) this academic year 2021/22
  • information for schools on Tuition Partner eligibility
  • information for schools on how to register for the NTP webinars
  • information for early years on the experts and mentors programme
  • information on initial teacher training (ITT) in early years settings and schools
  • an update for schools and colleges on the educational setting status form
  • information on the COVID-19 workforce fund being extended to Easter to support with the costs of staff absences in schools and colleges

Accessing tutoring through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) this academic year 2021/22

As we enter the second half of the spring term, this is a crucial time for those in years 11 and 13 who are taking public exams this summer, and tutoring offers high quality academic support. We encourage you to register for the NTP as soon as possible so your pupils can receive this help alongside pupils already receiving tutoring in other schools.

The Unity School Partnership Trust, a multi-academy trust have produced a blog on how they are taking advantage of all three routes of the NTP programme to benefit pupils.

Information on Tuition Partner eligibility

The NTP aims is to deliver a minimum of 65% of tuition to disadvantaged pupils in receipt of pupil premium, and this remains a key focus for the programme given the higher learning loss among many disadvantaged pupils. Schools are best placed to decide which pupils need additional support and have been given the flexibility to do so, whilst ensuring disadvantaged children continue to be prioritised.

Take a look at our ‘how to guide’ for more information on how to access the NTP. You can also call the team on 0330 390 3315 to get help with registering your school.

How to register for the NTP webinars

The NTP webinar series continues and will focus on region specific information. They provide a great opportunity for shared learning from the experiences of schools in your region.

This week’s webinar will focus on the North East and will take place on Thursday 3 March at 4pm.

To register your interest in this webinar and other events, please visit the NTP events website.

Information for early years on the experts and mentors programme

The DfE early years COVID-19 recovery experts and mentors programme will offer bespoke support to early years practitioners, leaders and whole-settings, both face-to-face and virtually. The offer to settings will include leadership support, coaching for leaders, mentoring for practitioners and whole-setting support, depending on needs.

We are now looking for candidates to take part in the full programme roll-out commencing on a national scale in September 2022 (covering academic years 2022/23 and 2023/24). Experienced early years professionals are invited to apply for the roles of area lead, expert or mentor, to support settings in need. Information for settings on how to register their interest in receiving support will be made available later in the year.

More information on the experience required, responsibilities and funding associated with each of these roles is provided in each of the expression of interest application forms.

Update on initial teacher training (ITT) in early years settings and schools

Thank you for your flexibility and dedication in supporting ITT during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those of you hosting trainee teachers, your continued commitment this year has contributed to ensuring that ITT trainees have received the fullest training experience possible, preparing them for employment as Early Career Teachers in your schools.

We encourage you to continue to host trainee teachers this year. If you are not already hosting, please contact your local ITT providers to explore the opportunities.

You may already be thinking ahead to the next academic year (2022/23) and considering your recruitment needs and capacity to host ITT trainees. If you are interested in hosting trainee teachers, contact us and we will support you to partner with local training providers.

You can also find and contact local training providers directly by using the find teacher training service.

Update to the educational setting status form

In line with wider COVID-19 changes, we will move the educational settings status form from a daily to a weekly collection, and reduce the number of questions asked. This will balance the collection burden on schools and colleges, with the need to collect vital information on the impact of COVID-19 on settings through the next half of term, including the impact on vulnerable children and young people and staffing levels.

From the week commencing Monday 7 March, the collection will move to weekly, and the collection day will be every Thursday, with the first collection on Thursday 10 March. The form will remain open daily to report school and college closures. If your setting is closed on any day, please report this through the form, otherwise you only need to fill out the form each Thursday. We will review the continuation of the educational settings status form at Easter.

The list of topics we will be collecting data on is below:

  • setting closures
  • on-site pupil and student attendance rates and COVID-related absence rates
  • overall workforce absence rates
  • cancellation of breakfast or after-school clubs, or other childcare provision (applies to schools only)
  • National Tutoring Programme (applies to schools only and questions asked every 3 to 6 weeks, as is the case now)

We encourage all schools who have not yet signed up to the department’s automated attendance data trial to please do so. Further information on the trial can be found in the Q&A on the document sharing platform. Alternatively, you can contact us by email.

COVID-19 workforce fund extended to Easter to support with the costs of staff absences in schools and colleges

As previously announced, the COVID-19 workforce fund has been extended to provide financial support to eligible schools and colleges, for costs incurred due to staff absences from Monday 22 November 2021 until Friday 8 April 2022.

The fund is available to support schools and colleges facing significant staffing and funding pressures in continuing to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils.

Further information on the COVID-19 workforce fund is available in our guidance for schools and colleges. The guidance has been updated to reflect the extension.

The claims process is retrospective and will open in the spring.

The information below has not changed since our last update

Department for Education COVID-19 helpline

The Department for Education COVID-19 helpline is available to answer any questions you have about COVID-19 relating to education and childcare settings and children’s social care.

Department for Education guidance

Our guidance to support education and childcare providers, local authorities and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic can be accessed using the links below: