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Latest Government advice and guidance on COVID-19

4th January 2021

National lockdown: Stay at Home

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. Find out what you can and cannot during the national lockdown:

- Rules and restrictions during coronavirus

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. You should follow this guidance immediately. This is the law.

Leaving home
You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare - for those eligible

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local - unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work. Stay local means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

When you can leave home
You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This is the law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice). You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

Where to find the latest information
Updates on COVID-19:
Travel advice :
Latest Department for Education information: · ·


Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it.
Remember - ‘Hands. Face. Space.’
- hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
- face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
- space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

In all circumstances, you should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.

Going to school or college

Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term.
In the circumstances, it is not possible for exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. The Department for Education will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly. Providers can continue with the vocational and technical exams that are due to take place in January, where they judge it right to do so.

School governance update

We have published an update about school governance which includes guidance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19):


Guidance for commercial suppliers

You may be aware that Cabinet Office has issued guidance on providing support to suppliers during and after coronavirus (COVID-19).
A Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 220 sets out information and guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity:

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.UK

All of the Department for Education’s coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.UK: ·

Cyber security guidance to ensure your school’s IT teams and providers are prepared for home working

The National Cyber Security Centre has published new guidance which:
· recommends cyber security steps to take if your organisation is introducing (or scaling up the amount of) home working
· provides tips on how individuals can work more securely from home

You can access the guidance for IT staff at:
You can access the guidance for all education staff at:

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care.

Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.