Schools in England are required to continue to provide remote education to pupils who cannot attend classes in the 2021/22 academic year, the latest guidance from the government cautions.
The guidance was issued this week to schools, five weeks ahead of the new term in September.
In an addendum to new guidance for schools on pupil attendance, the Department for Education that it “expect schools to offer [pupils] access to remote education” if they are unable to attend because of Covid-19.
“Schools should keep a record of, and monitor engagement with, this activity, but this does not need to be tracked in the attendance register,” the addendum continues.
Guidance of this nature was first issued following the Coronavirus Act in October 2020 for the recently concluded 2020/21 academic year. The DfE published its expectations for schools offering remote learning in January this year – but this guidance expired recently as the country moved to relax remaining Covid-19 restrictions. This update suggests absences and disruption may persist into the new academic year.
In its recent Covid-19 operational guidance for schools, the government reissued its remote education temporary continuity direction from last October and warned said schools “where appropriate […] should support those who need to self-isolate because they have tested positive to work or learn from home if they are well enough to do so”.
The guidance continued: “[Schools] should maintain your capacity to deliver high-quality remote education for the next academic year, including for pupils who are abroad, and facing challenges to return due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, for the period they are abroad.”
The guidance stipulates that remote education should be “equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school”. This equates to three hours a day on average for pupils in key stage one, four hours for key stage two and four hours for key stage three. Online instruction may not be suitable for the youngest pupils that require more parental supervision but can suit older cohorts.
The government guidance also included links to its toolkit for “sustaining digital and remote education”.