Guidance: What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19

Department For Education

April 7
15:04 2021

Back to school: COVID testing in schools - questions answered


Information for parents and carers of children at:

  • registered childcare providers (including nurseries and childminders)
  • primary and secondary schools (including independent schools, maintained schools, academy trusts, free schools and special schools)
  • colleges (for the purposes of this guidance colleges means publicly funded sixth form and further education colleges, independent training providers and special post-16 institutions)
Published 18 June 2020
Last updated 7 April 2021 +show all updates
  1. We have updated advice on the use of face coverings in education and updated information to reflect commencement of step 2 of the COVID-19 response spring 2021.

  2. Updated guidance on home testing for students, changes to shielding, returning to boarding schools, Test and Trace support payments, wraparound provision, school trips, confirmatory PCR tests for secondary and college-aged students and Ofsted Inspections.

  3. Updated information on returning to boarding school from overseas and elective home education.

  4. Added information on asymptomatic testing for parents and adults in households with children at school or college.

  5. Changed the guidance document 'What parents need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19' to an accessible version.

  6. Update 'What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges', up to and after the full reopening on 8 March 2021.

  7. Updated sections on attending nursery, school and college, remote education, exams, asymptomatic testing and lateral flow tests, Ofsted inspections, entry tests for selective schools, food, and EHC plans.

  8. This guidance has been updated following the PHE position statement on daily contact testing.

  9. Added information about updates coming shortly.

  10. Updated to reflect the new national restrictions that were introduced on 5 January 2021.

  11. Updated to reflect announcements about the phased return of secondary schools and colleges and the use of the contingency framework in some primary schools.

  12. Added information about tier 4 restrictions and returning in January 2021.

  13. Updated the self-isolation period from 14 to 10 days from the day after contact with an individual who tested positive - in the 'self-isolation' and 'actions that nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges will take' sections.

  14. Updated the information on primary assessments and GCSE and A Level exams in summer 2021, Ofsted inspections and exams for selective schools.

  15. Updated to reflect the local restrictions, including changes to the sections on shielding, face coverings, school and college trips and extra-curricular activities. We have also added information about performances in schools.

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