This week’s Covid-19 communication covers:
- New update as of 30.3.20
- Links to previous advice.
As ever the update is issued by BSA in conjunction with our partners BAISIS and ISC. BSA reminds all schools that it is not a medical, statutory or legal authority and any advice is given on that basis.
A.1: What has changed
This time last week the UK was contemplating 5,683 cases and 281 deaths. As of yesterday (March 29) that has risen to 19,522 cases and 1,228 deaths (correct at time of writing). Since last Monday’s guidance, the UK has of course fully entered lockdown, and many schools have begun their Easter holidays, although BSA is aware that many member schools remain in operation for boarders who could not get home or for vulnerable children and children of key workers. BSA will continue to operate throughout the forthcoming weeks and will issue updated guidance every Monday as normal, with more frequent updates only if absolutely necessary. Although our London office is closed, the BSA team continues to operate as normal.
A.2: Updated Safeguarding guidance
In England, the Department for Education produced updated safeguarding guidance over the weekend. This includes vital information for schools including the role of the DSL during the current situation, contacting local authority partners, registering attendance, dealing with non-attendance and much more. All those working in England should read it, and those elsewhere might find some of the principles useful to bear in mind.
WISC has issued safeguarding guidance to all member schools this morning, including practitioner guidance. Please contact Emma Verrier, WISC Chief Executive for further details via email@example.com.
A.3: Pupils from mainland China
Now that international air travel is more or less closed down, Colin Chen, CEO of InterGreat Education Group, which has worked closely with BSA in recent months, is trying to establish how many pupils from mainland China remain in the UK, but who might wish to travel home if a repatriation flight was available. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any details (school name, contact, number of pupils), but please say nothing to pupils or families at this stage while information is collected and InterGreat establishes with the Chinese authorities what might be possible.
A.4: Remote learning
There has been much concern about the vulnerability of children and staff when remote teaching and learning. In addition to guidance previously mentioned, ISI circulated some prompts at the end of last week which colleagues will find useful.
A.5: Tier 4 duties
UK Government also issued guidance for Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 sponsors. All schools that are sponsors are urged to become familiar with the updated document.
A.6: Supporting the community
BSA is working with government and local authorities to support key services during the coronavirus crisis. Following a call to members on Friday, over 2,500 boarding beds have been pledged to support NHS and vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 crisis. If your school would like to take part please read below.
- NHS support
If you are offering accommodation - or any other service - to the NHS, please contact your local hospital and ask for the Estates Manager with details of your offer. You can also register here https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/L5B32S/ with the word ''support'' in the title. When you respond, please also provide details of your car parking facilities if you have any and how many spaces. Please note if you are not an existing NHS accommodation provider, NHS colleagues are in the process of identifying how best to take forward your offers of support and will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
- Support for Vulnerable Groups
If you are able to provide urgent and much needed support for vulnerable groups including the homeless and rough sleepers, we recommend also sending details of your offer to HRS_Covid19@communities.gov.uk; Leticia.Gil@communities.gov.uk. Your details may be passed on to appropriate Local Authorities to contact you. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will have a support package in place for these groups, and any additional costs you might incur to meet the needs of vulnerable groups will be met by the government.
If you are able to assist with the above, please let BSA Director of Member Services, Chris Ryan, know via email@example.com so BSA can keep a record of all offers.
A.7: School financial matters
BSA has lobbied consistently on behalf of the sector, kindly assisted by Andrew Lewer MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Independent Education. This has included letters to the Chancellor and to the Secretary of State for Education, a telephone conversation with Schools’ Minister Baroness Berridge and another is scheduled for tomorrow, and matters relating to boarding schools being raised in both Houses of Parliament.
BSA is working with ISC and with ISBA to raise the financial issues for boarding schools with Government, with SCIS also doing this in Scotland and WISC in Wales. The interests of state boarding schools have been raised frequently with the Department, and BSA has also raised the specific needs of the boarding community in Northern Ireland both at Westminster and in Belfast. As soon as there is definitive news about any responses, BSA will inform all member schools accordingly.
BSA is very keen to continue to focus on positive news stories, especially during these really challenging times. Do please send us any “good news” to firstname.lastname@example.org and nominate anyone worthy of a special mention by using the hashtag #BSAheroes
A.9: A reminder of last week’s guidance
Also following lobbying by BSA, the DfE produced guidance on isolation procedures for boarding schools, which is available here.
The following new guidance was also highlighted in last week’s newsletter:
The Scottish Government issued the following:
The Welsh Government advice is below:
Penningtons Manches Cooper has produced the following guidance for independent schools which have been forced to close:
A.10: Regional guidance
Guidance from the devolved administrations and from Ireland is regularly updated, and the main pages for each country are below:
B. Links to previous BSA advice
- March 23, 2020
- March 18, 2020
- March 17, 2020
- March 09, 2020
- March 02, 2020
- February 25, 2020
- February 24, 2020
- February 17, 2020
- February 10, 2020
- February 3, 2020
- January 27, 2020.
If you would like further advice from the BSA, please email email@example.com.
Chief Executive, BSA and BSA Group