School Information for children and young people

The health and safety of pupils remains priority and Cardiff Council, in line with Government guidance continues to work closely with schools to maintain appropriate measures so that all children and young people, and their staff can attend safely.

Schools make arrangements according to their own circumstances and they will continue to inform parents directly about the individual arrangements for their pupils.

Families are reminded that under no circumstances should learners attend school if they:

  • feel unwell, have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste and/or smell) or they have tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • live in a household with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

Below you will find answers to a series of Frequently Asked Questions that parents, carers and pupils may have.

Child walking to school

Frequently Asked Questions that you may have.

Foundation Phase pupils age 3-7 returned to face-to-face learning from Monday 22 February.

From Monday 15 March, remaining primary school children will return to school.

Secondary schools, PRU’s and Special Schools can also welcome back learners in exam years 11 and 13, as well as providing flexibility for those in years 10 and 12.

On Tuesday 2 March, the Education Minister for Wales announced that schools are to be given further flexibility, if they wish, to welcome back learners in years 7, 8 and 9 before the Easter break.

This would not be a full return to school for years 7, 8 and 9 before Easter. However, it would provide schools with the opportunity to offer learners check-ins with teachers, with a focus on support for wellbeing, and readiness for a full return to school after Easter.

The Minister for Education has also shared her intention to get all learners back to schools, colleges and training providers after the Easter break.

The focus before Easter will continue to be on learners who are undertaking ​qualifications, especially those in Years 11 and 13, and those studying practical vocational qualifications.

Where capacity allows, secondary schools will continue to provide in-school support to vulnerable learners and the children of critical key workers, in Years 7, 8 and 9, which will take place during normal school hours.

Vulnerable learners and children of critical key workers will need to continue to follow COVID safe conditions which may include year group bubbles or key stage bubbles.

For all other year 7, 8 and 9 pupils in schools, colleges and independent schools, remote learning will continue.

​Operation guidance for schools: Operational guidance for schools and settings from 15 March | GOV.WALES

The Chief Medical Officer statement on the return to face to face learning for children and young people can be viewed: CMO statement on the return to face to face learning for children and young people | GOV.WALES​

Technical Advisory Group: considerations for changing the operation of schools to allow more face-to-face learning | GOV.WALES​

Does the return of more pupils mean other restrictions can be relaxed?

No. Welsh Government has stated that although schools can reopen for some pupils, parents and carers must be vigilant in order to keep transmission low.

Outside of school grounds and out of school hours it remains important that all staff, children and their families continue to stay at home as much as possible and limit their contact with others, ensuring that national prevention measures are followed.

In her recent message to parents and carers the Education Minister reinforced the message that “play dates, sleep overs, birthday parties and other household mixing with others outside the immediate are not permitted.”

Important information for parents and carers when dropping off and collecting children from school

Parents and carers are reminded to observe social distancing when dropping off and collecting their children and not to congregate during these times. To help pupils, parents and carers maintain social distancing during school drop-off and collection times, please make sure the following is observed:

  • Avoid driving your child to school if you can. Please walk, scoot or cycle, where possible
  • If you have no practical alternative to driving, please park well away from the school and walk the rest of the way
  • To help with pupil safety and social distancing, please do not park on the pavement
  • When dropping off your child or collecting them, please make every effort to observe social distancing by staying 2 metres apart from other people
  • Please avoid congregating with other parents around school entrances.

Welsh Government has updated its guidance to schools​​​​​​​​​​​Link opens in a new window on Tuesday 5, January and this includes information about pupils who may be identified as vulnerable learners.

The definition includes, but is not limited to, learners who are in one or more of the following groups:

  • learners with special educational needs (SEN)
  • learners from minority ethnic groups who have English or Welsh as an additional language (EAL/WAL)
  • care-experienced children, including looked after children
  • learners educated other than at school (EOTAS)
  • children of refugees and asylum seekers
  • Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children
  • learners eligible for free school meals (FSM)
  • young carers
  • children at risk of harm, abuse or neglect.

Not all learners from these groups will face barriers to learning or be vulnerable to underachieving. Welsh Government has set out a series of principles for determining which learners should be offered face to face provision as vulnerable learners.

Schools will make decisions on which pupils should attend school depending on local circumstances and their capacity to provide face-to-face learning in addition to a distance learning offer.

You school will communicate arrangements with you directly.​

Will all pupils with a statement of SEN be regarded as a vulnerable learner?

No, but schools should give particular consideration to learners who may struggle to access learning online, for example those with sensory impairments.

Schools should also consider the particular needs of learners attending Wellbeing Classes or Specialist Resource Bases.  Schools will make a consistent learning offer to all pupils, whether they are in school or learning from home, including those with ALN.

What are the re-opening arrangements for Special Schools and PRU’s?

Special schools and SRB’s will offer in-school provision primary aged children and some secondary aged pupils in line with Welsh Government expectations. Where classes are mixed key stage Head teachers will decide the best offer having regard to Welsh Government expectations.​

Special schools and the PRU will remain open to support other pupils who are identified vulnerable learners.

In determining which learners should be regarded as vulnerable, special schools and the PRU will apply the same principles as mainstream schools, taking account of the particular needs of their learner populations.

The schools will continue to work with health professionals and social workers to plan in partnership in relation to learners with the most complex needs, whether they are learning from home or attending school.​

Cardiff is applying the Welsh Government Key Worker definition, however, provision in each school depends on school staffing levels & capacity. Children of parents in frontline blue light services, NHS, school workers & social care need to be prioritised to help the fight against Covid-19.

We are working with our schools and they will make local decisions based on need and on their own ability to deliver the service. In line with statutory guidance only one parent/ carer needs to be identified as a key worker, but it needs to be remembered that support offered in school is only appropriate when all other avenues of safe care have been exhausted.

The focus for schools is to provide an education and a consistent learning offer for all pupils. School staff may be asked to self-isolate or may contract the virus. This will play a part in how many children a school can accommodate.

We know this situation is difficult for people, but schools are closed due to the severity of the situation in Wales. Every effort is being taken to slow down the transmission of the virus while doing what we can to help residents which is why we need to try and keep numbers of face-to-face learning in schools as low as possible as we respond to the virus during this phase of the battle against the pandemic.

How will vulnerable learners and critical worker pupils access Free School Meals whilst schools are closed, if they receive them normally?

Each child eligible for FSM will receive a weekly supermarket voucher whilst schools are closed. For those pupils attending, they will be expected to bring a packed lunch.

Your school will communicate plans with you directly.

What happens if my child is a vulnerable learner who usually accesses Home to School Transport?

Any pupils eligible for transport will continue to receive transport should they attend school during closure.

Your school will be required to contact the Home to School Transport team with the details of pupils who will be attending so that they may make the necessary arrangements with the transport contractors.

How will my child continue to learn if schools are closed or if they are required to self-isolate?

Guidance has been provided by Welsh Government to assist schools in developing a hybrid approach to ensure the continuity of learning for all pupils during changing circumstances and different scenarios.​

View guidance on learning in schools and settings from the autumn term​​​​​​​​​​​​​

View guidance to schools for supporting vulnerable learners.​​​​​​​​​​​​

Why does remote learning provision vary from school to school?

Schools are working in challenging and changing times and there cannot be a one size fits all approach. All schools are different and it is up to each school to meet the needs of their own pupils and school communities.

In line with Welsh Government guidelines, Cardiff Council has provided with schools with a series of expectations and guidance for the effective approach to distance learning.

Cardiff schools will be expected to provide a comprehensive and balanced distance learning package to all pupils in all settings and should have a Blended Learning Strategy encompassing distance learning in place which:

  • Allows learners to access learning through digital or other accessible methods in a practical and uncomplicated way.
  • Supports all partners’ shared understanding of how effective, organised distance learning can provide a breadth of learning experiences.
  • Supports parents/carers access to guidance to understand their role in supporting their children with distance learning.

Should all schools be providing live lessons?

Live lessons are one of a range of methods used to deliver remote learning and as all schools are different, they are best placed to tailor an education package which meets the needs of their own pupils and school communities.

Wherever possible, Cardiff Council recommends that all learners should have access to both synchronous and asynchronous opportunities. Synchronous learning should be provided in line with the WG guidelines laid out in the Live Streaming guidance.​

This should include;
  • Clear explanations of any tasks the pupils are required to undertake.
  • The provision of high quality feedback to enable pupils to identify what learning has taken place.
  • Opportunities for ‘real time’ peer interaction and interaction with staff.
  • Assessment of pupil progress.
The Council has provided updated guidance for schools on delivering both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities, in line with Welsh Government guidelines.
To support our schools in delivering a comprehensive range of remote learning approaches safely and efficiently, the Council has provided significant resources and training including virtual teacher training in partnership with The Open University and the supply of laptops to teachers for the delivery of online learning.

What if my child does not have access to a digital device or the internet?

If your child does not yet have access to an appropriate ICT device or internet access at home, please inform your school who can make the appropriate arrangements for you to loan a device or provide you with internet access.
Ensuring that all children and young people are presented with the same opportunities to engage with remote learning whilst schools are closed has been priority and Cardiff Council continues its work to address the issue of digital deprivation.
To date 16,975 new digital devices and 2,491 new 4G broadband devices have been provided to schools since the start of the pandemic and a further 855 devices are due to be distributed next week. Our dedicated project team continues to work with schools to identify those pupils who are digitally disadvantaged.
The roll out of devices is ongoing, including support to access wifi and promotes Cardiff’s long term strategy to provide every child with the appropriate connectivity, both during and after lockdown.

What is expected of parents and carers when children are learning at home?

It is recognised that the school face to face learning experience cannot be re-created at home. However, schools need to plan for the continuity of learning so that all learners have equitable learning whatever their circumstance. There is no one size fits all strategy for these different scenarios. The plans must be suitable to the context of the school and have due regard for the Welsh Government expectations and priorities. Although it is hoped that parents and carers can help facilitate their child’s learning, they are reassured that they are not expected to become their teacher.
Welsh Government states that; “The participation of parents and carers in learning is essential for developing learning experiences which involve learning both inside and outside of school. Parents and carers engaging with learners at all ages should help consolidate school-based learning.”
Your child’s school should communicate clearly how you can support, understand and engage in your child’s learning at home. If you are unsure how you are able to support your child, please contact your school.

More information for parents and carers​ to Keep Wales Learning.​​​​​​​​​​​​

I have heard several terms such as blended, remote and synchronous learning. What is the difference, what do they mean?

Cardiff South Consortium has provided the following information so that pupils and parents have shared understanding of language associated with blended learning:

  • ​Blended learning: an approach to learning that combines face-to-face, distance, digital and online learning experiences. The face-to-face learning that takes place should complement the other aspects by using the strengths of each mode of delivery. This approach will allow children to continue to access school – led learning whilst at home. Cardiff South Consortium has issued a road map to support schools in developing a whole school approach to blended learning.  View the road map to blended learning
  • Remote or distance learning: allows learning experiences to happen from just about anywhere and may or may not involve a digital device and internet connection. This supports the well-being of all learners, including a choice of learning opportunities for social, physical, emotional development and tasks to promote their resilience. It allows individuals to learn when and where it is more convenient for them. Equitable distance learning does not have to mirror learning as it normally does in school.
  • Digital learning: any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a learner’s learning experience. Additionally, digital learning can be used for professional learning opportunities for teachers and to provide personalised learning experiences for learners.
  • Online learning: education that takes place over the internet. It is often referred to as e- learning among other terms. However, online learning is just one type of “distance learning”.
  • Synchronous learning: teaching where the teacher is present at the same time as the learner(s). This can take place face-to-face or online. You can view the Welsh Government guidance on live streaming​​​​​​​
  • Asynchronous learning: where teaching materials are provided and learners work through them in their own time. This could include a variety of media, including audio and video clips.
  • ​Direct teaching: giving carefully considered explanation, questioning, worked examples, modelling, scaffolding, structured discussion and feedback.

On Friday 5, February The Education Minister for Wales announced that regular, twice weekly, Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) will be offered to all staff in all registered childcare settings including Flying Start settings, schools and further education settings when they return after the February half term. The aim of introducing this rapid testing is to ensure that schools identify possible asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible, minimise the opportunity for onward transmission and keep schools as safe as we can.​

Asymptomatic testing: education and childcare settings | GOV.WALES​

Read the written statement in full. Written Statement: Testing offer for schools, colleges and childcare settings (5 February 2021) | GOV.WALES​

What if a staff member has a positive Lateral Flow Test (LFT) result?

If a positive lateral flow test has been identified in your child’s bubble, the bubble will have to isolate as a precautionary measure, until a confirmatory antigen (PCR) test result can be obtained.
Once the antigen test result is known, parents will be contacted to advise if their child can return to school or will be required to self-isolate for 10 days as a contact of a confirmed case.

​The Minister for Education and the Minister for Health and Social Services announced on 22 February that the offer of regular, twice weekly, Lateral Flow Tests has now been extended to include all learners in years 10-13 and further education.

These tests will be for use at home, twice weekly and are only to be used for learners who don’t have any symptoms.

Learners will collect their test kits from their school or setting and will test themselves at home. They will then enter results for each test and follow the same guidance and procedures as staff.

More information on the specific detail of the processes are currently being discussed and finalised and will be shared by your school in due course.
Anyone who tests positive using a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) must not attend a school or setting. They and everyone they live with must self-isolate immediately according to the self-isolation guidance​ whilst they undertake the following actions:

They will be contacted by the local contact tracing team to identify contacts who will need to self-isolate – they must follow any advice given by the local contact tracing team.

A negative test result does not remove the risk of transmission.

How long is the self-isolation period?

On December 9, The Health Minister for Wales made changes to the regulations around self-isolating. It states;

Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, these regulations:

  • provide that a person required to isolate as a result of having had close contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus must isolate for 10 days instead of 14, and makes transitional provision for those who are already isolating;
  • permit a child who is required to isolate to move to another household during the period of isolation if this is in line with existing arrangements relating to custody and contact with the child’s parents;

The International Travel Regulations are also amended to reduce the period for which a person is required to isolate from 14 days to 10 days and to permit a child who is required to isolate to move to another household during the period of isolation if this is in line with existing arrangements relating to custody and contact with the child’s parents.

To read in full please visit: Written Statement: Changes to Self-isolation Period (9 December 2020) | GOV.WALES

From 14 December 2020 Self-Isolation Support Payments in Wales are to be extended to parents or carers of children who have been told to self-isolate.

The basic eligibility criteria remains the same as the current scheme:

  • Employed or self-employed and on a low income
  • Losing money as a result of having to stay at home
  • Unable to work from home

In addition,

  • The child must have been told to self-isolate by TTP or as a result of an outbreak in school ie not through parent choice, or schools choosing to close early for Christmas
  • The child attends a school or childcare setting up to and including Year 8 (or up to age 25 if the learner has multiple and complex needs)

Applications:

  • Applications for this change will be accepted from Monday 14 December
  • Applications may be backdated where a child has been asked to start to self-isolate from 23 October 2020 onwards

Customers should be directed to the self-isolation support scheme online application​ or the Advice Line on 029 2087 1071 from Monday 14 December.

Should my child attend school if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, or live with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms?

Under no circumstances should pupils attend schools/setting if they:

  • ​feel unwell, have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell) or they have tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • ​live in a household with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

Please ring the school to report that your child or a family member is ill.

What do I do if my child develops any of these symptoms?

If your child develops any of these symptoms, even if they are mild:

  • Book them a test online​ or by phoning 119
  • Inform your school that they are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms and that you have requested a test
  • Your child should remain in self-isolation
  • All other household members should isolate for 10 days from when your child developed symptoms
  • Do not visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital but if you require medical advice please contact NHS 111 or telephone your GP; if there is a medical emergency phone 999
  • If you require medical advice for COVID-19 symptoms or another reason, please inform the healthcare worker that your child is a contact of a case of COVID-19 and in self-isolation
  • Please follow the advice provided when your child receives their test result

General information on COVID-19.​​​​​​​​​​

The COVID-19 online symptom checker​​​​​​​​​​​​ can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.​

When should my child stay home from school and when is it ok for them to attend?

If you are unsure if your child should be kept home from school, please view the guide for parents relating to COVID-19 pupil absence here: https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Schools-and-learning/Schools/COVID-19-school-absences-guidance/Pages/default.aspx

Can children go to school if a parent or another sibling, or anyone else in their house has symptoms of COVID-19?

No. If a child, parent or household member develops symptoms of COVID-19, the entire household should immediately self-isolate, and book a test for the individual with the symptoms.

It is not necessary to test the entire household if they are not symptomatic.​​

Are children able to go to school if they have been in contact with someone who they don’t live with but who has symptoms of COVID-19?

If a child has been in “contact” with someone experiencing symptoms, they should carry on as normal until that individual receives their test result. If this is positive, the TTP Team will contact people identified as contacts.

What is meant by ‘contact’?

  • ​face-to-face contact with someone less than 1 metre away (including when you have worn a face covering or face mask)
  • spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • travelling in a car with someone (even on a short journey)

How will Track, Trace, Protect (TTP) help to keep schools operating safely?

Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) sets out the approach to tackling coronavirus; testing people with symptoms in the community, tracing those who have come into close contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus, and protecting family, friends and the community by self-isolating.

Schools will reinforce these messages and in particular, remind all those who show symptoms to self-isolate and book a test. Those living with someone showing symptoms should also self-isolate.

Further information and questions and answers about Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) can be found on the Welsh Government website and in Guidance on Test Trace Protect.

What if a pupil or teacher is showing symptoms?

If a pupil or teacher from a school in Cardiff develops or shows symptoms when in school, they will be able to access a local testing centre. They will need to be referred by their school/ head teacher and will then be contacted by Public Health Wales who will provide a test appointment at a test centre in either Whitchurch, Splott or Grangetown.

This service must only be used for symptomatic staff or pupils with one of more of the following symptoms:

  • ​a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
  • Note: as we are learning more about symptoms especially in children, we will update schools if this changes
If more than one person in the household is symptomatic then we will test all symptomatic school children/teachers in the household. Anyone else who is symptomatic should self-isolate and seek testing through the national portal unless advised otherwise by the Cardiff and Vale Track, Trace and Protect Service.
Referrals should come through to the relevant local authority from the school/head teacher and not directly from pupil or parents.

Booking a COVID-19 test if you are not a pupil or teacher:

Public Health Wales advise the following:

  • ​Only people with symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or loss of or change in the sense of taste or smell) should be tested.
  • A COVID-19 test can be arranged via the Portal, or by ringing 119.
  • Testing is available in person or with a home testing kit delivered to and collected from your home. The test is a throat swab or combined throat and nose swab.
  • Some people are having difficulties obtaining tests. Your TTP team may be able to help if you are having problems.

What happens if the school has a positive case for COVID-19?

  • ​When a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified as attending an educational or childcare setting (staff or pupil) contact will be made with the case (or parent) to assess whether they attended the school during their infectious period and whether further tracing of contacts in the school is needed.
  • If any staff member or child within the school is a contact of the case, they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days and contacted by your local Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) team or Education Department.
  • If a staff member or child from the school is not a contact of the case, they will not be required to self-isolate.

What does it mean if my child is asked to self-isolate?

If a positive case is confirmed at school and your child has been in contact with that person, they may be asked by the Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) team or Education Department to self-isolate.

This will reduce the possible spread of COVID-19 from those contacts to their family, friends and the wider community.

Self-isolation advice requires your child to stay at home, not to go outdoors to exercise, to visit shops, family or friends, or to other public spaces. Please do not invite people to your house. Further information on self-isolation.​​​​​​​​

If your child remains well then the other members of the household do not need to isolate and can continue with their normal activities. If your child is still well at the end of the 10-day period of self-isolation, they can return to school and their other usual activities.

What circumstances require self-isolation?

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, and anyone who lives with them, must self-isolate, even if symptoms are mild. You must also self-isolate if you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the virus.

You must not go to school, nursery, other childcare settings, work, or places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. They can return to school or work after 10 days if they are well enough to do so.​

Anyone in the household who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when the first person in the home started having symptoms.

Receiving a negative test result when you are a contact of a case does not shorten the isolation period, you will still be required to isolate for 10 days if you are a confirmed contact of a positive case.

If a parent thinks their child has symptoms BUT chooses not to put them through a test all household members must remain in self-isolation for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by the TTP Team.

If the person who has symptoms has a negative test, self-isolation can end for everyone, children may return to school and parents can return to work if they are well enough and as long as nobody else in the household has developed symptoms.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading, there are things that everyone in your family can do to help.

These include:

  • ​Washing hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Washing hands as soon as they get home
  • Covering their mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not their hands) when they cough or sneeze
  • Putting used tissues in the bin immediately and washing hands afterwards

Please be alert for symptoms of COVID-19 in your child, which are:

  • ​A new or continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss of or change to sense of smell or taste

If your child develops any of these symptoms, even if they are mild:

  • Book them a test online​​​​​​​​​​​​ or by phoning 119
  • Inform your school that they are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms and that you have requested a test
  • Your child should remain in self-isolation
  • All other household members should isolate for 10 days from when your child developed symptoms
  • Do not visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital but if you require medical advice please contact NHS 111 or telephone your GP; if there is a medical emergency phone 999
  • If you require medical advice for COVID-19 symptoms or another reason, please inform the healthcare worker that your child is a contact of a case of COVID-19 and in self-isolation
  • Please follow the advice provided when your child receives their test result

What happens if someone at shows symptoms of COVID-19 whilst at school?

If a learner shows symptoms at school, they will be kept separate in an isolation room and parents will be called immediately to come and collect them.

PPE will be made available for staff supervising learners that are unwell.

Any member of staff displaying symptoms will leave the school premises immediately and arrange a test.

Anyone displaying symptoms should stay at home for 10 working days (*subject to change depending on the latest advice from Public Health Wales and Welsh Government) from the onset of symptoms.

They should arrange to be tested immediately to determine if they are a confirmed case and should remain home until results are confirmed. If a child or member of staff develops symptoms whilst in school, their school will refer them for prioritised testing.

Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) will intervene should a learner test positive for COVID-19.

Anyone who lives with someone displaying symptoms but remains well or who has tested positive should stay at home for 10 days from the day the first person became ill.

​​What happens if there is an outbreak in school?

If there are multiple cases of COVID-19 in a school, then experts from across the NHS and local government will work together to prevent ongoing transmission within the school.

This will involve identifying those exposed, any child or staff member who is at increased risk and the provision of tailored infection control advice.

Advice based on the assessment of each individual situation will be provided to support the school in preventing further spread.

Parents and carers will be kept informed of the situation by the school.

Welsh Government has updated its operational guidance to schools to support limited attendance from 22 February. This sets out how schools and other providers can make their sites safe for staff and learners during limited attendance.

View Welsh Governement operational guidance for schools and settings from the autumn term​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

View Welsh Government guidance on learning in schools and settings from the autumn term​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Are there new measures in response to new strains of the virus?

The existing control measures that schools and settings have become familiar with will remain in place, and continue to be important in reducing transmission.
This includes:
  • Hands, face, space are still the most important measures to prevent infection
  • Staggered start and finish times
  • Twice weekly testing is now available for all teaching and non-teaching staff in all schools and colleges. The Council is also working with Welsh Government to set up ways to supply tests to school and college transport drivers, supply teachers and peripatetic staff working across different schools
  • Twice weekly testing will also be available for year 10 learners and above in schools and colleges
  • In secondary schools and colleges face coverings should be worn in all communal areas and in the classroom where it’s not possible to socially distance.
  • By now staff whose role is to provide intimate personal care for some of our most vulnerable children with complex medical needs have been offered their first vaccination
  • Updated risk assessments have been carried out at every school  with a dedicated Health & Safety Team to determine how it can operate safely. This includes revised building and hygiene processes and social/physical distancing measures where applicable

Schools will continue to engage with the TTP strategy​​​​​​​​​​​​External link opens in a new window and manage confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the school community, containing any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.

Welsh Government information states that these measures remain appropriate, despite new variants of the virus.
The Local Authority will continue to review control measures regularly, in line with Welsh Government guidance.
The Chief Medical Officer states that “Effective mitigations are more important than ever with a more transmissible variant and these should continue and be strengthened where possible.”
These mitigations include reducing the numbers mixing at any one time and in any one place; maintaining secure contact groups; vigilant social distancing; hand hygiene and the use of face coverings as set out in the guidance.”

Will pupils still need to ‘bubble’ when the return?

Yes, when pupils return they should be kept in as small a bubble as practically possible.
This allows appropriate tracking of contacts as well as the reduction of contact groups in the event of a positive case.
It is advisable that where possible, pupils do not mix across bubbles and attend only one setting.​

Will the school be cleaned regularly?

Yes, schools will be cleaned thoroughly and enhanced cleaning regimes will take place during the day. This includes hand contact surfaces including handrails, door handles, push pads, taps, toilet flushes etc.

Individual risk assessments have identified areas that are used frequently throughout the day where cleaning should take place more often and all schools have been provided with specific cleaning and disinfection advice.

Where rooms are being used by more than one group, cleaning of tables and chairs will take place between sessions.

Will shared learner resources, class equipment and toys be cleaned regularly?

Schools will review the resources that they provide to staff and learners to minimise the need for cleaning and to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Schools will be responsible for ensuring the necessary cleaning of items used in accordance with health and safety guidance.

Wherever possible, learners will be provided with their own resources, e.g. pens, pencils, to minimise the risk of cross contamination.

Where resources are shared, these will be cleaned between uses where this is practical.

Will hand washing and sanitiser be provided for children to use?​

​Yes, regular hand-washing will be part of the school routine and the first stop for all pupils at the start of every day, and throughout the day thereafter.

Handwashing is considered the most effective primary defence but where this is not practicable, hand sanitiser will be provided.

Hand sanitiser stations have been installed at key points within the school, including entrances to the school and close to toilet facilities.

Pupils will be encouraged to ‘Catch It, Kill It, Bin It’ and to sanitise hands afterwards.

Schools will ensure help is available for learners who have difficulty cleaning their hands independently.

What’s the difference between Social and Physical Distancing?

Social distancing is the term used in relation to learners keeping a safe social distance.  Physical distancing is a requirement in accordance with The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 whereby workplaces (including schools and early years settings), must take “all reasonable measures” to ensure that a distance of 2m is maintained between any persons within a work premises.

Will Social Distancing continue in Primary Schools?

For children, the focus is on keeping learners in consistent groups/bubbles wherever practicably possible.

They may have staggered break times and their own area for learning and periods of play. This will make it quicker and easier, in the event of a positive case, to identify those who may need to self-isolate and to keep that number as low as possible.​

Floor markings may remain in communal areas around the school to show pupils how far apart they need to stand. Schools will continue to utilise outdoor areas where possible, encourage ventilation and some may implement a one way system.

Will Social Distancing continue in Secondary Schools?

Schools will do everything possible to minimise contacts within their own settings through sensible and proportionate measures.

Pupils will be in ‘Consistent groups’ which may need to be the size of a whole year group, in order to limit physical social interactions.

This will make it quicker and easier in the event of a positive case, to identify those who may need to self-isolate and to keep that number as low as possible.

Floor markings may remain in communal areas around the school to show pupils how far apart they need to stand. Schools will continue to utilise outdoor areas where possible, encourage ventilation and some may implement a one way system.

Perspex screens will be located at face to face contact points to protect children and staff.

How will social distancing for drop off and pick up times be managed?

Your school will advise on the arrangements for drop off and pick up of children from school.

Staggered arrival and departure times at school may still operate, where possible.

A series of traffic schemes will be in place at some schools to ensure the safety of children and families at drop-off or collection. This includes road closures, one way systems and the widening of pavements.

Check if there are traffic schemes planned for your school.

On November 23, 2020 the Welsh Government updated its operational guidance on the use of face coverings in secondary schools and colleges.

The guidance now states that face coverings should be worn:

  • in all areas outside the classroom by staff and learners in secondary schools and colleges
  • on dedicated school and college transport for learners in year 7 and up
  • by visitors to all schools and colleges, including parents and carers dropping off and picking up children

​Cardiff Council has provided every secondary school pupils with at least two reusable face coverings.

The wearing of face coverings is not currently recommended for primary school age children. This will be kept under review in line with Government guidance, while taking into account any infection rate rises or outbreaks in the city.

Read more on the Welsh Government’s update​​​​​​​​​​​​

Information about the wearing of face coverings for mainstream secondary school pupils

Below are a series of do’s and don’ts to consider when wearing face coverings.

View an instructional video on the use, storage and maintenance of face coverings

Do

  • ​Clean your hands before touching the covering
  • Inspect the covering for damage or if dirty
  • Adjust the covering to your face without leaving gaps on the sides
  • Cover your mouth, nose and chin
  • Avoid touching the covering
  • Clean your hands before removing the covering
  • Remove the covering by the straps behind the ears or head
  • Pull the covering away from your face
  • Store the covering in a clean plastic, re-sealable bag if it is not dirty or wet and you plan to re-use it
  • Remove the covering by the straps when you take it out of the bag
  • Wash the covering in soap or detergent, preferably with hot water at least once a day
  • Clean your hands after removing the covering

Don’t

  • ​Do not use a covering that looks damaged
  • Do not wear a loose covering (tying a knot at the end of the ear loops will tighten the fit)
  • Do not wear the mask under the nose
  • Do not remove the covering where there are people within 2 metres
  • Do not use a covering that is difficult to breathe through
  • Do not wear a dirty or wet covering
  • Do not share your mask with others

Will staff wear face coverings?

Staff in secondary schools and colleges will be expected to wear face coverings in all areas outside the classroom and on school transport.

What if my child or someone in our family is shielding?

On December 23, Welsh Government issued updated advice to those people who were originally ask to shield.

This updated guidance is to support the clinically extremely vulnerable in protecting themselves from exposure to coronavirus as Wales is now at alert level 4. ​

For children and young people who were originally asked to shield, Welsh Government states:

“As our knowledge of COVID-19 has grown, we now know that very few children and young people are at highest risk of severe illness due to the virus. Doctors have therefore been reviewing all children and young people who were initially identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to confirm whether they are still thought to be at highest risk.

“If you have already discussed this with your child’s doctors and they have confirmed your child is still considered clinically extremely vulnerable, your child should not attend school.”

“Children and young people in the household who are not clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to attend school. Children and young people whose parents or carers are clinically extremely vulnerable should also continue to go to school.”

Read Guidance on protecting people defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (COVID-19)​​ – previously known as ‘shielding’ – GOV.WALES.

What happens if I choose not to send my child into school? Will I be fined?

From 14 September, school attendance has been compulsory and all learners should have returned unless they had a medical/health reason not to or if the advice at the time is that they should not attend school.

The Welsh Government will monitor the situation and for now, Welsh Government has taken the decision that parents won’t be fined but this will be under review.

How will schools monitor attendance?

Regular attendance will be essential to help learners catch up on missed education, make progress and promote their well-being and wider development.

Learners of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason applies (such as sickness, leave of absence etc).

Schools will support learners and parents who are reluctant or anxious about the return to school.

Schools and settings will keep a record of attendance and families should notify their school if their child is unable to attend. This will help schools, settings and local authorities plan for and understand any barriers to learners returning to school and identify any further support needed.

We are a BAME family, is it safe to send our children to school?

The Welsh Government’s All Wales COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool, has been designed to help address individual risk factors, regardless of ethnicity.

On Wednesday 20 January, The Education Minister for Wales confirmed that following further disruption to face-to-face learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic, learners in Wales studying for Qualifications Wales approved GCSE, AS and A levels this year will receive grades determined by their school or college, based on work they have completed over their course. There will be no external assessment or exams.

Learners undertaking GCSE, AS and A levels approved by Qualifications Wales will have their qualifications awarded through a Centre-Determined Grade model. This means that grades will be determined by their school or college based on an assessment of the learner’s work.

Schools and colleges will be able to use a range of evidence to determine the grades to be awarded to their learners, including Non Examinations Assessment elements, mock exams, and classwork.

In addition, the WJEC will offer a set of adapted past papers which can be used to help assess learning within teaching plans. These will be optional assessment materials but they are intended to provide extra support for teachers and lecturers.

Read the Welsh Government’s Written Statement: Update on General Qualifications in 2021​​

Read Qualifications Wales’ Frequently Asked Questions

Has the curriculum returned to normal?

Welsh Government has issued guidance for the approach to learning for the autumn term and outlines several priorities.

Will there be school trips?

Guidance is still evolving, however the Council is working with partners to plan for the return of school visits and trips. National guidance for the management of outdoor learning​​​​​​​​​​​​, off-site visits and learning outside the classroom is provided by the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel.

Can music lessons restart?

Yes. We have been working with schools to provide support and reassurance that there can be a safe return for the music service.

What Measures are in place to maintain safety during music lessons?

Covid-19 Health and Safety guidance has been issued to all peripatetic teachers in schools, in line with Welsh Government Guidance. Measures include:

  • ​​Tutors should not attend school if they or anyone they live with are showing Coronavirus symptoms. The current self-isolation procedures should be followed and this should be reported to managers
  • Tutors should wash or sanitise hands on entering and leaving a school
  • Tutors should observe social distancing at all times, and wear a mask in all communal areas
  • Tutors will ensure teaching rooms maintain ventilation where possible
  • Tutors should avoid touching pupil’s instruments, particularly mouthpieces. Tutors should use disposable gloves and hand sanitiser if tuning an instrument or if the setting of a reed is required. The sharing of instruments should be avoided unless teaching piano/harp which should be cleaned in between pupils. Pupils will be asked to use sanitiser before playing
  • Pupils should have their own copies of the Music and bring their own instrument to the lesson
  • Tutors should clean their instruments and equipment at the beginning and end of each lesson
  • Physical contact with pupils should be minimised and the handling of music or instruments bel​onging to pupils
  • Pupils should only be taught individually or in pairs, avoiding mixing school groupings where possible
  • Tutors should be aware of the school’s risk assessment and details of individual school safety and control measures
  • If a child shows symptoms of Coronavirus during the lesson, it should be reported to the school immediately and the schools procedures will be followed

Will there still be school assemblies?

As stated in Welsh Government’s operational guidance, “contact groups should be kept apart where possible”. This means that schools should avoid large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group.

Will there be PE lessons?

Yes, PE is important for children, but lessons will be adapted to reduce risk of spread of COVID-19. Your school may ask pupils to wear their PE kit to school on those days and your school will communicate their plans to you directly.

Will secondary school pupils still have different teachers for different subjects or will they have one for the whole day?

All teachers and staff can operate across different classes and year groups to ensure the delivery of the school timetable but will practice social distancing. Arrangements will be made by individual schools.

Will children have break times and how will social distancing be managed during these times?

Yes, pupils will have break times and lunchtimes but they will be staggered to facilitate social distancing.

What does my child need to bring to school, do they need their own equipment?

Welsh Government guidance states that learners should limit the amount of equipment they bring into school each day, to essentials only.

Schools will communicate their own requirements. ​​

Will school meals be available from Monday 22, February?

There will be no school catering when schools reopen to Foundation Phase pupils from Monday 22, February. Children will be required to bring a packed lunch.
Your school will notify you when catering in school will re-commence.

What if my child usually receives Free School Meals?

For children eligible for free school meals, the e-voucher and parent pay systems will continue to be in place until catering provision is brought back into operation at each school.

Children returning to school from Monday 22, February, should be provided with a packed lunch to bring to school.

Free School Meals will also be available during school holidays up to and including Easter 2021 and whilst schools are closed due to lockdown.

Where can supermarket vouchers be spent?

Vouchers can now be spent in seven different supermarkets including Aldi, Asda, Iceland, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainbury’s and Waitrose and allows the flexibility for parents and carers to purchase their child’s food from where they choose.

What if my child receives Free School Meals but is required to self-isolate from school? If a pupil is self-isolating or required to stay at home they will receive Free School Meals via a supermarket voucher.
Free School Meals will continue to be provided during school. ​

Should medically vulnerable learners return to school in September?

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has reviewed and issued guidance on the risks to children with underlying health needs.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Their guidance has been adopted by the four UK nations.

The RCPCH guidance identifies two groups of children and young people (under 18 years of age) who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.

Group A lists conditions that mean a child is clinically extremely vulnerable. A child with a condition in Group A should be advised to shield, in line with government public health advice.

Group B lists conditions that require discussion between the clinician and the child and their family or carer to establish whether they are clinically extremely vulnerable on a case by case basis. A child in Group B should have a discussion with their clinical team to establish whether on balance of risks they should be advised to shield, in line with government public health advice. Not all children and young people with conditions listed in Group B will need to do this. If following a discussion, they are advised not to shield, the child should maintain stringent social distancing.

The RCPCH has recommended that children and young people with group A or B conditions should be seen by medical professionals before September and a decision as to whether the child should be considered ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, and advised to shield, should be made.

If a learner is advised to shield, schools will continue to provide remote learning opportunities, and continue to make regular contact with parents and carers.

My child has medical or intimate care needs. Can schools continue to provide support?

The school will update the risk assessment for your child and discuss this with you.

If staff need to have direct contact with your child, this will be discussed with you first. Health and safety advice will be followed, including additional hygiene and use of Personal Protective Equipment.

My child has a statement of special educational needs: will they still benefit from additional support?

Schools will continue to provide appropriate levels of additional support for learners with ALN.

My child is hearing impaired and needs to see people’s lips and facial expressions when they are speaking.  What is the advice in relation to face masks?

So that communication is not limited for children and young people with a Hearing Impairment, clear face visors will be used when PPE is required.

Home to School Transport

Those pupils returning to face to face in-school provision from Monday 22 February that are eligible for transport, will continue to receive transport should they attend school.
Your school will need to contact the Home to School Transport team with the details of pupils who will be attending so that the necessary arrangements can be made.Mainstream transport may not return to full operations whilst schools remain closed to the majority of pupils. Your school will communicate updates with you.Active Travel is considered the safest and healthiest way to get to school and pupils will be encouraged to walk, scoot or cycle where possible.  Changes to road layouts around some schools will be maintained to support safe access.

For those that cannot attend school without school transport, detailed arrangements will be communicated to you via your school for the start of term.

What happens if my child usually takes a bus to school?

Mainstream School Transport will operate at normal times and with normal capacities from September.

School transport will be available with additional safety measures in place. These will include:

  • Each vehicle will be classed as a separate bubble,
  • All pupils will be expected to sit in the same seats on their way to and from school,
  • Pupils must not travel if they or anyone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19
  • Hand sanitiser will be available on all vehicles, pupils must apply this when getting on or off the vehicle,
  • Transport operators will have increased cleaning regimes in place and vehicles will be deep cleaned on a weekly basis and all regularly touched services will be wiped down after each journey​

All of the above is subject to changes in guidance from Welsh Government.

Will my child be expected to wear a face covering when travelling on their school bus?

Mainstream secondary school pupils will be expected to wear face coverings while travelling on mainstream school buses, minibuses and taxis. Cardiff Council will provide all mainstream secondary school pupils with two reusable face coverings.

This expectation does not apply to pupils with Additional Educational Needs although masks will be provided for those that wish to use them.

The wearing of face coverings on mainstream school transport does not apply to primary school pupils, however this will be kept under review in line with Government guidance.

My child takes a taxi to school, will they need to wear a face covering?

Cardiff Council will provide and expect all secondary school pupils to wear face coverings while in taxis. This expectation is does not apply to pupils with Additional Educational Needs or primary school pupils although masks will be provided for those that wish to use them.

What if my child travels to school using public transport?

Mainstream secondary school pupils will be expected to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport.

Please visit Transport for Wales​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more information and guidance relating to travelling on public transport.

Can private nurseries and childcare settings remain open during level 4 alert lockdown?

It says: Across Wales all childcare and play settings are able to remain open, providing care, support, early education and rich play opportunities for all children. This includes all of our non-maintained settings such as childminders and day care providers, along with playwork settings and Flying Start provision.
Childcare and play settings should continue to take account of the Welsh Government’s guidance on safe operations.​​

Welsh Government have issued a series of Frequently Asked Questions relating to childcare and play during alert level 4.​

Will there be breakfast club and after school clubs?

The Council is working with schools and childcare providers to support them in facilitating breakfast and after school clubs. Your school or registered childcare provider will communicate plans to you directly.

​Where can I find information about registered childcare in Cardiff?

Cardiff Family Advice and Support​​​​​​​​​​​ offers a range of information, advice and assistance for children, young people and their families in Cardiff. The team can provide information and advice on registered childcare in Cardiff. Contact them via telephone on 03000 133 133 or email: ContactFAS@cardiff.gov.uk ​​​​​​​​​​

When will my registered childcare provider reopen?

As of Friday 18th December, 374 of the 398 registered childcare settings were open. This represents 94% of the registered childcare settings in Cardiff.   For parents wishing to access childcare, please contact your registered childcare provider for an update on their current plans visit the Cardiff Family Advice and Support website ​​​​​​​​​​​

The Childcare Offer continues to operate and by the end of November 2020 a total of 1,233 Cardiff children were benefitting.

Eligible parents whose children turn 3 in the Spring Term (January-March) will be able to access the Childcare Offer from the Summer Term 2021. Applications will open on the 15th February and eligible families will be able to receive the funding from the 12th April 2021 if their application has been approved by this date.​

View updated information about the Childcare Offer for Wales in Cardiff.​

Are you concerned about a friend?

For emergencies when you think they may be in danger please call the Police on 999.

If you have concerns about a child’s health or wellbeing act on them. Even if your concerns seem small to you, please report them. All reports are taken seriously and acted upon sensitively.

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