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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Visit our coronavirus pages for the latest updates.

Back to school – September 2020

All schools in England are fully re-opening for the autumn term at the beginning of September.

We have worked closely with all schools in Bracknell Forest to make sure they are safe for pupils to return to.

Returning to school

It will be mandatory, by law, that all children return to school this September as stated in Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. Failure to comply could result in prosecution.

A small number of pupils may be unable to attend school because of the following reasons:

  • they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result
  • they are in close contact with someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)

If your child cannot attend for this reason, talk to their school or college about what support there is for remote learning.

Safety measures 

All schools have updated their risk assessments and are following government guidance to put in place safety measures.

These include:

  • increased cleaning
  • staggered start and finish times (this may vary from school to school)
  • grouping together of pupils into ‘bubbles’ (bubbles may be used differently by different schools)
  • forward facing work desks
  • social distancing among staff as much as possible
  • hand sanitisation stations and the promotion of regular hand washing

Travelling to school

We’re encouraging all parents and carers to walk or cycle to school where possible. It will also help contribute to your child’s recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day, reduce congestion on the roads and help the local environment. Car sharing should be avoided at this time.

If you do have to use public transport for your journey, you can do so safely by following the latest guidance. This includes washing or sanitising your hands before and after your journey and wearing a face covering on public transport at all times, unless you are exempt.

For more information on getting to school this September, visit our active ways to school page.

Helping your child’s transition

Make sure that anyone in your household who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms does not attend school or college. If you or someone in your household does develop symptoms please begin isolating immediately and book a test. You can book a free test online on GOV.UK.  If you can't book online, call 119 to arrange a test. Do not assume ‘it is just a cough’. If you have any of the symptoms, get tested.

Get your child into the routine of washing their hands more often with soap and water for 20 seconds, as they’ll have to do this during the school day.

Encourage your child to use the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach when coughing and sneezing.

Minimise contact with other households and teach good social distancing. Although at school lots of different households will begin to mix, it is important to continue to reduce exposure as much as possible, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. For example, only members of 2 households should be meeting indoors, outside of the school environment.

Practice good habits as we approach the new academic year, such as:

  • getting a good night’s sleep
  • waking up on time
  • healthy eating

Make sure everything is ready for the start of term such as a clean uniform and school bag.

Returning from abroad

GOV.UK has a list of countries that you can travel to and return home as normal, without a 14 day isolation period.

Popular holiday destinations such as Spain and France have been removed from this list and on your return to the UK you must isolate for 14 days. If the isolation period conflicts with your child returning to school, you must continue to self-isolate.  Do not send your child to school until the 14 days are over. If this applies to you, please contact your child’s school or college in advance to let them know.

If your child is anxious

It is completely understandable that after a very disruptive 6 months your child may be anxious to return to school. This will not be an uncommon feeling among pupils, and schools will do all they can to keep a calm, smooth start to the new academic year.

It’s important to communicate with your child the safety measures in place to protect them to prepare them for this new experience. If you have significant concern about your child’s anxiety, please contact your child’s school to see how they can help.

If there have been any changes to your family’s circumstances during this period of absence from school, please inform your child’s school at the start of term so they are aware and are able to support your child.

More guidance

We've put together a returning to school toolkit on our Family Services Directory with more resources.