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National lockdown: Stay at Home

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

To find out the latest information and advice about coronavirus in Torbay see our coronavirus section.

Back to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Attending school and college safely

Help and advice for children and families about attending school and college safely.

During the period of national lockdown, schools, alternative provision (AP), special schools, colleges and wraparound childcare and other out-of-school activities for children should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend (recognising that the characteristics of the cohorts in special schools and alternative provision will mean these settings continue to offer face to face provision for all pupils, where appropriate). All other pupils and students should not attend and should learn remotely until February half term.

Please visit the government website for further guidance and information.

Limiting attendance does not suggest that schools and colleges have become significantly less safe for young people. Instead limiting attendance is about supporting the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities. We have resisted restrictions on attendance at schools since the first lockdown but, in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to use every lever at our disposal to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible.

For vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers, who should still attend school or college, as they did in March to July, and their teachers, the system of protective measures means that any risks are well managed and controlled.

Early years

Provision should continue to remain open and should continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours. This includes early years registered nurseries and childminders, maintained nursery schools, as well as nursery classes in schools and other pre-reception provision on school sites. Only vulnerable children and children of critical workers should attend on-site reception classes. This is the default position for all areas irrespective of national lockdown restrictions.

Further education

During the period of national lockdown further education providers will remain open to vulnerable students and the children of critical workers. All other students will learn remotely until February half term.

Remote education

Schools have a duty to provide remote education for state-funded, school-age children whose attendance would be contrary to government guidance or law around coronavirus (COVID-19). The Direction requires schools to have regard to this guidance.

The remote education provided should be equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school and will include both recorded or live direct teaching time, and time for pupils to complete tasks and assignments independently. 

Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils

Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils are also advised not to attend school.

COVID testing in secondary schools and further education

You should contact your child’s school or the College directly to find out how they are approaching pupil and student testing.


The Department for education cannot guarantee all students will be in a position to fairly sit their exams this summer. Therefore this year GCSEs, A and AS level exams will not go ahead this summer as planned, they will look at options to enable candidates to receive a grade. The Secretary of State for Education will be asking Ofqual to consult rapidly on an approach for alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.

Face coverings

Under national lockdown, in settings where pupils in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. This does not apply to younger children in primary schools and in early years settings. Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings.

Free school meals

Schools should also continue to provide free school meal support to pupils who are eligible for benefits related free school meals and who are not attending school. Extra funding will be provided to support schools to provide food parcels or meals to eligible children. Where schools cannot offer food parcels or use local solutions, the Department for Education will ensure a national voucher scheme is in place so that every eligible child can access free school meals while their school remains closed.

Contact Public Health