January Schools opening guidance – some points to note for special needs pupils

17 December 2020

See government guidance Schools and childcare settings: return in January 2021 – GOV.UK (

Today the government announced that the physical return to school in January for secondary school pupils will be staggered from the 4th of January to the 11th of January. Education will be provided remotely during this period.

All students in primary, special and alternative provision schools and colleges will return at their usual start of term.

Students in exam year groups, vulnerable children and children of critical workers will all attend school or college in person from the start of term. The definition of “vulnerable” for these purposes includes children with EHCPs. Unlike in the first lockdown, the availability of a school place will not be dependent upon a risk assessment for vulnerable pupils. All vulnerable pupils will be able to attend school.

We have asked for clarification of attendance expectations for vulnerable children in year groups that are out of school for this week – we have requested that in these cases parents be allowed to make a choice based on the needs of the family and the child as to whether their vulnerable child attends school or not.

(Please note that this is different to the definition of “clinically extremely vulnerable” for shielding purposes)

Lateral flow Covid 19 testing will be rolled out to staff in secondary schools and secondary age pupils (including those in specialist and AP settings).

Testing will not be mandatory and parental permission will be required. Students who receive positive test results will be asked to retest in 3 days and will be required to self-isolate in line with existing guidance

If a child is unable or unwilling to take a test, this will not impact their return to school with other pupils.

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