School Information for children and young people

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.

On Friday 8 January, Welsh Government announced that all schools, colleges and independent schools will continue with remote learning until February half term, unless there is a significant reduction in cases of coronavirus before 29 January – the date of the next three-week review of the regulations.

This is due to the serious situation in Wales and across the UK.

Schools and colleges will remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable learners, as well as for learners who need to complete essential exams or assessments. On this basis Special Schools and PRU’s should remain open if possible.

Read the Welsh Government’s announcement in full​

You can also visit Welsh Government’s FAQs​ published following the Minister’s announcement on the move to online learning​

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.

Welsh Government has updated its guidance to schools​ 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 (eFSM)
  • 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.

Will Special Schools and PRU’s remain open as normal?

Special schools and the PRU will remain open to support 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 using the Welsh Government definition of Key worker, however depending on school staffing, children of parents in frontline blue light services, NHS, school workers and social care would be prioritised.

From Wednesday 6 January, schools will provide childcare provision for critical worker childcare, where they have the capacity to do so.

Schools will make local decisions, made in discussions with parents over need.

Priority should be given when both parents are critical workers and where all other childcare options have been exhausted.

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

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 Free School Meals will receive a weekly supermarket voucher. 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 they are required to stay home from school or required to self-isolate?

Welsh Government sates that; “A school’s or setting’s approach to learning will need to adapt to the changing circumstances that we may face during the response to COVID-19. Schools should therefore develop an approach to learning that is flexible enough to adapt to different scenarios as well as differing amounts of in-school learning and learning at home or elsewhere.”

Schools are working in challenging and changing times and this 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.
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.​

Should all schools be providing live lessons?

Live lessons are one of a range of methods in delivering distance 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.
The Council is providing 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 distance 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 3000 laptops to teachers for the delivery of online learning.

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

Cardiff continues to address the issue of digital deprivation. Over the next few weeks a further 2,340 Chromebook devices will be delivered to schools to assist in the delivery of online and remote learning, whilst schools are closed due to COVID-19.
This is in addition to the 12,775 new digital devices and 2,000 new 4G broadband devices already provided to schools since the start of the pandemic.
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.

What is expected of parents/ 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/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, distance 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​​​​​​​

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 Monday 14, December the Welsh Government announced plans for serial testing in schools and colleges from January.

Welsh Government states that under this process, pupils and staff identified as close contacts would be asked to either self-isolate as normal or to take a lateral flow test at the start of the school day for the duration of the self-isolation period.

Lateral flow testing detects the presence of the Covid-19 viral antigen from a swab sample.

Those who test negative would continue attending school as normal, those who test positive would be required to self-isolate and book a confirmatory test.

As Welsh Government provide more details on how this will be delivered, Cardiff Council will work with schools and more information will be communicated to parents.

Read the Welsh Government announcement on serial testing in schools and colleges​

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.

Can my child attend school if they have a cold?

Public Health Wales says that if a child does not have symptoms of COVID-19 but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, they do not need to be tested and they and you do not need to self-isolate. Your child can go to school if fit to do so.

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.

Schools operating safely​

Welsh Government has issued guidance for the safe operational management of the return of all pupils and for the approach to learning.

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What has been done to make schools safe?

Each school has undergone a series of updated risk assessments and has worked with a dedicated Health and Safety Team to determine how it can operate safely. This includes revised building and hygiene processes and social or physical distancing measures where applicable.

Essential measures will include:​

  • ​A requirement that people who are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 stay at home
  • Active engagement with Test, Trace, Protect (TTP)
  • Robust hand and respiratory hygiene including ventilation
  • Continue increased cleaning arrangements
  • Promoting reduced contacts and maximised distancing between those in school wherever possible
  • Grouping learners together
  • Avoiding contact between these groups as much as possible
  • Staff maintaining physical distance from learners and other staff as much as possible​

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 defense 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?

Welsh Government has stated that social distancing for children aged 11 years and under has been suspended.

Physical distancing however is still a requirement for all staff in schools. For children, the focus will be 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.

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

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?

The Welsh Government Shielding advice was suspended on 16th August.

If your child was shielding up until then or if someone else in your household was shielding, they should return to school, unless they have received professional medical advice otherwise.

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.

​In November, the Welsh Government announced that there will be no end of year exams for learners taking GCSEs, AS levels or A levels next year.

The Minister said she would establish a Design and Delivery Advisory group that would support ‘wellbeing, fairness and progression’ for learners in 2021.

On Thursday 17 December the Education Minister for Wales, Kirsty Williams provided details of how the system put in place to replace examinations for general qualifications in 2021 will work.

The Minister confirmed this will be supported by a three pillar approach made up of:

  • non-examination assessments
  • internal assessments
  • assessments that are externally set and marked

For further information please see the press release on the Welsh Government Website​​.

The ​Education Minister has addressed learners affected, you can read the letter here

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?

Some schools are looking at reintroducing school catering but this will depend on the individual school setting. 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.

Free School Meals will also be available during school holidays up to and including Easter 2021. For October half term, these will be provided using a supermarket voucher scheme.

What if my child receives Free School Meals but is required to self-isolate from school?

If a pupils is self-isolating or required to stay at home they will receive Free School Meals via a supermarket voucher.

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.

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.

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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