The Coronavirus Act 2020 which sets out the Government’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disruption received Royal Assent on 25 March 2020. The Act and accompanying documents can be found on the Parliament website. Provisions to do with education, children’s social care services, childcare and skills can be found in sections 37 and 38, and schedules 16 and 17 of the Act.
The legislation has been drafted to take account of the possibility that not all education institutions will close. The Explanatory Notes explain that the legislation contains ‘a suite of powers to enable Government to react flexibly to manage differing levels of risk’ to meet the ‘particular challenges and risks to those operating in an education or childcare context…’
The direction for temporary closure of all education establishments in the UK was given on 18 March, accompanied with a temporary continuity direction to remain open to provide for children of key workers and vulnerable children. This brings the United Kingdom into line with the rest of Europe (except Sweden). Find more information about school closures worldwide.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DfE has issued - and will update as necessary - a number of separate pieces of guidance and other advice. This guidance is summarised here.