Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for schools and families

The decision to close schools for most children has been made by the government, who announced all schools will close for most children until further notice on Friday 20 March.

Schools are now only providing places for vulnerable children and those of keyworkers.

The government has set out who are classified as key workers

It also has guidance for parents and carers.

Please consider the following:

  • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  • If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  • Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  •  Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  • Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

Advice for schools

The Government has produced advice for schools and other educational settings to help provide advice for pupils, staff, parents or carers on:

  • the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • what to do if someone confirmed or suspected to have coronavirus (COVID-19) has been in a school or other educational setting.

Guidance on early years and childcare closures. For OFSTED registered childcare providers including; childminders, nurseries and wraparound childcare, before and after school clubs and holiday clubs. Childcare providers, schools and local authorities are working together to ensure that different settings are supported to stay open wherever possible.

Guidance for schools and other educational settings. Documents to help schools and other educational settings provide advice for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students about coronavirus (COVID-19). It includes;

  • educational provision for vulnerable children and children of key workers
  • the closure of educational settings
  • free school meals arrangements (including voucher scheme)
  • the cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A levels
  • travel guidance for educational settings

Guidance for education and childcare settings on how to implement social distancing. Key points:

Key points

Schools and childcare settings need to ensure that;

  • children, parents, carers or any visitors, such as suppliers, do not use or visit the setting if they are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • anyone who is feeling ill stays at home
  • parents are discouraged from gathering at school gates
  • how children arrive at the education or childcare setting is considered and reduce any unnecessary travel on coaches, buses or public transport
  • parents and communities are informed about the measures being taken.

Early years settings in Plymouth  

Updates on early years settings that are open/closed and have capacity for extra children can be found on the Plymouth Online Directory early years settings that are open/closed in Plymouth

Free school meals

The Government has released new guidance on Free School Meals and launched a national food voucher scheme. Find what it means for schools in Plymouth here.

Looking after children at home 

We have put together some information for looking after children during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Including how to talk to children about the virus. 

Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)

You can find information about support for families, children and young people with SEND on Plymouth’s Local Offer.  There is also a specific section on the local offer that provides information and updates about the Coronavirus (CPVID-19).

If you have questions you can contact Plymouth Information, Advice and Support for SEND (PIAS)

If you have a specific question or concern about your child you can email us at

Department for Education has a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:

Resources for Families 

There are lots of resources online that will help you to keep your children learning while they are off school.

Useful links for families

There is also a lot of support available to help keep your child safe online. 

  • Thinkyouknow (advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online)
  • Internet matters (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • Parent info (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • LGfL (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • Net-aware (support for parents and careers from the NSPCC)

Further information and advice 

Advice to help adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities. Supporting children and young peoples’ mental health.

Guidance on vulnerable children and young people 

The guidance for schools about temporarily closing has answers to questions on ‘How are vulnerable children defined’, ‘Is it compulsory for parents of vulnerable children to accept their place offer’, ‘Will critical workers or parents of vulnerable children be penalised if they do not send their child to school’, ‘What should schools do if vulnerable children do not attend school’ and what public health advice should schools follow’.