Support for parents and students

We’ve published information about how we're implementing a recovery and renewal plan for York following the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve produced support to help you know how you can support the city to 'build back better'.

We’re working with schools and child care providers across the city to help them welcome all their pupils and children back after the summer holidays or following closures due to coronavirus.

If you're having to educate your child at home, you can refer to our home learning resources.

We know that parents, carers and pupils will have lots of questions about the new term, so we’ve prepared some advice which will help to answer some of them.

See further information for students:

See further information for parents:

We'll be providing a Parents Newsletter, which we're sharing via schools and settings.

The newsletter contains key information for parents and carers, and links to information about travelling to school.

Making schools safe

Daily enhanced cleaning will take place in all schools, including regular and thorough cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, such as table tops and door handles. Shared classroom resources will be cleaned regularly and classrooms will be well ventilated.

Many schools have additional hand washing stations and children will be supervised to ensure they are washing and drying their hands thoroughly. Hand sanitising gel will also be available widely around schools.

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Pupil hygiene and hand washing

Children should wash their hands as soon as they arrive at school and more frequently throughout the day, such as after break times and before and after eating.

Please talk to your child before September about the importance of hand washing and sanitising, social distancing and the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach when blowing noses.

The NHS have produced guidance about how to wash your hands.

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Face coverings in schools

Face coverings remain one of our best defences against the virus, and the best way of slowing the spread, alongside:

  • hand washing
  • social distancing
  • self-isolating and getting tested if showing symptoms

Pupils will be asked to wear face masks on school buses and in corridors in York secondary schools when they return. After careful consideration we feel that the evidence recently released shows this is a worthwhile extra precaution.

There's no need to wear masks in classrooms, as they have been set up to allow for social distancing with desks spaced out and all facing forwards, but in corridors where people may not be able to easily socially distance we're asking pupils and staff who can to wear a face covering.

Our priority is and always will be the wellbeing of pupils and staff and we feel this advice, which we have agreed with headteachers, will help protect pupils as they return to school.

Schools will be supporting those who may be exempt from wearing a face covering.

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Washing school uniforms

You don't need to change your child's school uniform for each new school day.

Clothes worn at school do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, and they don't need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.

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Cases of coronavirus in schools

All schools have procedures in place for dealing with both potential and confirmed cases of coronavirus within the school. If your child has symptoms, you will be asked to pick them up immediately. They will remain isolated in school and supervised until they are collected.

If there's a confirmed case in a school, the school will be advised by the local Health Protection Team on the actions they should take which may involve advising some pupils and staff to self-isolate.

Other parents and carers will be informed if there's a confirmed case in school, but the identity of anyone with a confirmed case of coronavirus will be kept confidential.

Anyone who's deemed a contact of the confirmed case will be contacted by the test and trace service and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The confirmed case will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days.

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School attendance

The usual rules on attendance will apply from September with full-time attendance compulsory.

If you have particular concerns about your child, or another member of the family, speak to your school.

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Education at home

Schools have to make plans to provide education at home where needed for pupils who need to be educated at home, for example children who are shielding or self isolating.

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Transport to school

We're working with transport contractors and schools to ensure school transport is in place for all eligible pupils for the start of the autumn term. Parents and pupils will be advised of those arrangements towards the end of August.

See further information about school buses.

Safe walking and cycling routes

Where possible pupils should walk or cycle to school and avoid public transport. There's lots of information available in York about cycle paths and safer ways to get around away from the busier roads.

See the York cycle route map and information about walking and cycling on iTravel York.

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School drop-off and pick-up times

Your child’s school will provide details of the school day, including drop off-and pick-up times.

These may vary for different year groups to avoid large numbers gathering outside school. For the same reason, it's essential that you leave the school site as soon as possible after dropping off your child.

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School meals

To begin with schools will only be able to provide a limited school dinner menu, and a few may just be serving cold food.

School kitchens must comply with the guidance for food businesses on coronavirus, which includes enhanced hand washing and cleaning procedures.

Your child can take a packed lunch if you wish, and free school meals will be provided as normal.

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Back to school equipment

It's likely children will only be allowed to take in a limited amount of items, such as:

  • school bag
  • coat
  • hat
  • lunch box
  • books
  • stationery

Check with your school what items will be provided and what your child needs to take with them.

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School uniforms

See guidance about help with secondary school uniforms.

If you require assistance with primary school uniform, please contact your school. Many schools offer assistance with uniform costs to families who qualify for the pupil premium, such as school jumpers. Many also sell nearly-new items at reduced prices to raise funds.

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Physical education and PE kits

Schools will continue to provide a broad curriculum in all subjects, but there may need to be changes to some subjects such as physical education (PE) to ensure they can be delivered as safely as possible.

Please check with your school about uniform requirements.

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Getting ready to start primary school

Our Family Learning Team are offering online workshops for parents, carers and grandparents via Zoom during August.

The workshops will take place on Wednesday mornings at 10.00am, then are repeated on Thursday evenings at 8.00pm. They include a workshop on preparing for the first day at school and settling in.

See more information about York Learning online workshops.

For more information telephone: 01904 554277, or email:

Extra support for returning to school

We understand that there may be some anxiety about returning to schools, and there will be many opportunities for children to talk about their feelings and share any concerns that they may have.

All schools and settings are prepared for children to need additional support settling back in, including those with special educational needs or disabilities, and are putting additional measures in place where necessary.

Specialist help will be available by phone to parents and carers from our expert team of educational psychologists in the autumn term. Their helpline will be available every Wednesday morning on telephone: 01904 553055. Call between 8.00am and 11.30am from 2 September to 21 October

Support during the summer

If you feel you need extra support for your children, please contact our Local Area Teams on telephone: 01904 551900, or email:

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School applications and admissions

See details of how to apply for a school place.

The closing date for secondary applications is 31 October 2020, and for primary applications is 15 January 2021.

Schools may not be able to run open evenings as they usually do this year due to restrictions. Contact your local school for details.

Our schools directory includes contact details for all York schools and academies

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Breakfast and after-school clubs

Parents are advised to limit the number of different childcare settings used outside school.

We hope that schools are able to run their breakfast and after-school clubs from September. Your school will provide more details.

If you need to make alternative arrangements from September, or are looking for other childcare during August, contact our Family Information Service on telephone: 01904 554444 or email:

See further information about finding childcare during the coronavirus pandemic on the YorOK website.

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Your exam results

Find support understanding your exam results at GCSE, AS and A level this summer, and information about your options for the future.

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Support for students

Support is available for anyone who is particularly worried about their results and next steps.

Services for young people are available from York Mind. You can email: or telephone: 01904 643364.

If you prefer online messaging you can use Kooth.

Kooth is a free, online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for young people aged 11 to 18. You can use Kooth until you turn 19 years old.

The Kooth website allows young people to gain anonymous access to advice, support and guidance on any issue that is affecting their wellbeing. From friendship or relationship issues, family disagreements or difficult home lives, to concerns around eating, anxiety, stress, depression, self harm or suicidal thoughts.

Their qualified counsellors can give young people the support they need, when they need it. Kooth’s live chat service is available Monday to Friday from midday to 10.00pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 6.00pm to 10.00pm and is accessible through mobile, tablet or desktop, completely free of charge.

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Next steps factsheet

If you've just left school or college and are wondering what your next steps could be, we've put together a school and college leavers factsheet, with details of lots of different opportunities in York to help you learn, grow and earn.

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Other useful downloads

Also see