Education, schools and childcare - Coronavirus update
Schools in Warrington are following the latest government guidance and have safety measures in place to help stop the spread of viruses, like coronavirus.
Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term.
In the circumstances, the government does not think it is possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. They will be working with Ofqual to quickly put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.
Public exams and vocational assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned.
Higher education provision will remain online until mid February for all, except future critical worker courses.
We continue to work closely with all schools and colleges to ensure that school settings are COVID-secure for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend safely.
Schools and colleges have put in place a range of protective measures to help reduce the risks, and to ensure classrooms are as safe as possible for everyone. These include:
- ensuring that everyone cleans their hands frequently – including on arrival at school, when returning from breaks, and before and after eating
- promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach to ensure good hygiene
- enhanced cleaning – including cleaning frequently touched surfaces more often
- staggering school start and finish times to ensure social distancing
- staggering lunch and break times
- reducing or removing the use of shared equipment
- introducing one way systems around buildings – including at entrances and exits
- managing any confirmed cases of coronavirus in line with current public health guidance
- high school pupils will be encouraged to wear face coverings at certain times on school premises and they must be worn on school or public transport - see the government's guidance about face coverings in education settings
Students will also be encouraged to minimise contact and maintain distance from others as much as possible. Each school will be different in their approach, but it will involve asking children and young people to:
- Stay within specified groups or ‘bubbles’
- Maintain distance between one another
The coronavirus winter grant is additional funding for families experiencing hardship to support with food and utility bills during the winter period (December to March).
All families entitled to free school meals have been sent a letter advising that they may be eligible for funding. To check the eligibility criteria and apply, visit the coronavirus winter grant page.
We must all work together to help ease demand on our road and transport networks. We're urging parents, carers and pupils to consider active travel options like walking, cycling or scooting where possible, use public transport, and plan your journey ahead of time.
Walking, cycling and scooting are great ways to get around, while keeping active, on the school run.
By choosing to walk, cycle or scoot to school or work, instead of driving, you can help reduce the pressure on our road and transport networks - as well as improving your health and helping to protect our environment.
Think ahead - is your journey short enough to leave your car at home? Walking, cycling or scooting a short distance may be quicker than driving during busier times.
We are working to make it safer and easier for you to walk and cycle more. Find out more about how to cycle safely and view our new cycle map on our website.
School and public transport
If you travel to school or college by public bus, please remember to:
- plan ahead
- follow safety guidance
- try to avoid busy times
Operators have introduced safety measures on buses to support social distancing. Find out more about travelling by bus in Warrington on our website.
If travelling by bus, consider travelling outside of peak times as these services may be quieter.
Remember that timetable changes may also be in place, so leave a bit more time for your journey, and check before you travel.
If you’re aged 11 and over, you must wear a face covering on public transport to keep yourself and others safe. You should also wear a face covering when using school transport where possible. See the government's safer travel guidance for passengers for more information.
Plan your journey
Plan ahead and always check your travel options in advance. There may be an increase in the amount of traffic on the road at peak times, so make sure you check if there are any changes to routes in case of any temporary traffic or road restrictions.
If you're using public transport - plan ahead, visit traveline.info.
'School streets' scheme
Many schools across the borough experience a number of traffic related issues at the beginning and end of the school day. How schools manage pupils attending and leaving school in a COVID-secure environment has had an impact on the highways around schools.
We are piloting a new traffic management measure known as the ‘school streets' scheme to create more space around schools and improve road safety.
The ‘school streets’ scheme, launched on 30 November, will see the roads directly outside schools closed to traffic during school opening and closing times. This is to create a safer environment for children going to and from school.
The restrictions will be implemented at a number of schools that currently experience traffic issues and will be in effect for at least six months.
The rules mean that a road outside a school will temporarily close to traffic around the school’s opening and closing times, to create a predominantly car free zone. The scheme encourages active travel to school by walking and cycling, which in turn will help the environment by reducing congestion and pollution.
No vehicles will be able to enter the restricted zones between the times of operation, unless they have been given an exemption. Residents who live on the affected streets will be given a permit to display in their vehicles. This permit will enable residents to drive through the affected zones during the restricted times.
Parents or carers who are not able to walk or cycle to school can park their vehicle outside of the school street zone and complete the journey on foot.
Restriction times will be implemented Monday to Friday during term time, 8.25am – 9.10am and 2.10pm – 3.10pm.
The restrictions will first be implemented at St Andrews Primary School, Orford. The roads affected will be Mardale Avenue and Scafell Avenue.
Certain vehicles will be exempt from the school zone restrictions including:
- emergency services, doctors on call, district nurses, carers and support workers
- postal service vehicles serving properties within the restricted roads
- school buses and school transport serving the school within the restricted roads
- blue badge holders
- public transport
- taxis serving properties in the restricted zone
- school contract taxis
- funeral cortege
- tradespeople working within the restricted area
- any vehicle displaying a valid permit
If you require further information, please contact the traffic management team via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Early years, nursery and childminder provision
Early years settings will remain open during the national lockdown.
The My Life Warrington team can advise on available early years childcare places.
Unfortunately, due to the current situation, the places available are changing rapidly, for the most up to date information please call 01925 443131.
Parents and carers of pupils with SEND
We have established a page of frequently asked questions for parents and carers of pupils with SEND with advice and guidance on:
- education and assessments
- health services
- early help
- payments and budgets
Useful resources - My Life Warrington
There are some resources available to help you to talk to your child about school.
These include useful tips about how to cope if children feel anxious about the increased safety measures, or if they are feeling overwhelmed.
Visit the My Life Warrington website for more information.