Coronavirus Update – 7th September 2020

The Department for Education Exam Support Service

The Department for Education is providing support for schools and colleges to run autumn exams. The Exam Support Service is an extensive package of support to help schools and colleges with essential additional costs associated with running exams in the autumn, including fees charged by awarding organisations, sites and invigilation. Schools and colleges can book alternative sites and invigilators where required through approved suppliers.

Schools and colleges will also be able to claim funding through the service for alternative sites, and for autumn exam fees and invigilation costs if these exceed any savings made in the summer, following cancellation of summer exams. The claims process will launch later in the autumn term, alongside guidance on how to make claims. Further information on how to use the service can be found in the responsibility for autumn exams guidance.


Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE)

On 1 September, keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) 2020 came into force. All school and college staff should read part 1 of this guidance. This version replaces both KCSIE 2019 and the ‘for information’ version published on 17 June 2020.

We have made changes in three circumstances:

  • where legislation has required it, reflecting mandatory Relationship Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education from September 2020.
  • where additional information is available that will support schools and colleges protect their pupils, in areas such as mental health, domestic abuse, child criminal and sexual exploitation and county lines.
  • important clarifications which will help schools and colleges better understand and/or follow our guidance.


It is important that all school and college staff are alert to the fact some children will have suffered harm during lockdown. As well as exposure to domestic abuse, online harms and radicalisation, children could have broader welfare and/or mental health concerns. Part 1 of KCSIE provides all staff with a basic understanding of what to look out for and what to do if they have a concern. If possible, schools and colleges should provide designated safeguarding leads, and any deputies, more time in the early weeks of the new term to support children and staff. A full breakdown of the changes made to the guidance are included in Annex H of the guidance.

KCSIE part 1 is also available to view in 11 community languages.


Mentally Healthy Schools resources to help schools rebuild and recover

Mentally Healthy Schools has created a set of practical resources to help make the transition back to school easier for everyone, and help the whole school community rebuild and recover.

The resources are designed to be social distancing-friendly and are suitable for all schools. They contain lesson plans for teachers, advice and guidance for parents, and simple activities for children to complete in class or at home.


Updated guidance for initial teacher training providers

We have updated our guidance for providers of initial teacher training and early years initial teacher training to include temporary criteria changes due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We have temporarily relaxed criterion C1.1 to allow candidates who are not able to provide evidence of meeting the required GCSE equivalent standard before starting a course, as a consequence of coronavirus (COVID-19), to start the course. In order to continue on and complete the course, they must submit evidence by 30 November 2020.

We have also temporarily relaxed criterion C1.2 to allow candidates who are not able to provide evidence of their graduate status before starting a course, as a consequence of coronavirus (COVID-19), to start the course. In order to continue on and complete the course, they must submit evidence by 30 November 2020.

The information below hasn’t changed since our last update.


Exam Results Helpline now available until 18 September

The Exam Results Helpline, delivered by the National Careers Service, has been extended and will now be available until 18 September to provide additional support to students and their parents as they consider their next steps. Callers to the helpline will have direct access to experienced careers advisers who can advise on the different options available to them including T levels, A levels, GCSEs, BTECs, apprenticeships and other vocational options. Support will also be available on topics such as clearing, university, gap years and the autumn exam series.

Phone: 0800 100 900

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8am to 10pm


Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm