Support for parents and students

We’re working with schools and child care providers across the city to support children now they are back after the widespread closure earlier in 2021. We’ve prepared some advice which helps to answer questions from parents, carers and pupils about life at school during the pandemic.

See full details of the national arrangements for school and college pupils.

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 parents and students:

See further national resources for parents and students:

Making schools safe

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

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

Classrooms and communal areas are being kept well ventilated.

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Face coverings in schools and colleges

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

The government recommends that, in settings where pupils and students in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms and during activities unless social distancing can be maintained.

With the fall in the infection rate, pupils in year 7 and above no longer have to wear face coverings in classrooms and communal areas (from Monday 17 May). School staff should still wear face coverings in communal areas.

Pupils aged 11 and above should continue to wear face coverings on school buses, in taxis and on public transport to school.

In primary schools, the government recommends that face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible. Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering.

Schools will continue to support anyone who may be exempt from wearing a face covering.

College students should make sure they check and follow their own college’s rules on facecoverings (from Monday 17 May). The government has said Further Education (FE) providers have the discretion to recommend the use of face coverings by students and staff, if it is appropriate for their particular circumstances, “recognising that FE teaching environments are diverse and can include vocational and workplace training environments”.

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Coronavirus testing

The Government has asked secondary schools to make symptom-free COVID tests available to students and they have already provided information to parents about how this will work. Please contact your school for details of their arrangements.

Some schools are using our symptom-free testing sites. Parents and carers can get tested at these sites while their children get tested.

Book a symptom-free COVID test.

See futher information about home testing for students and families.

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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 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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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 apply 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 work with transport contractors and schools to ensure school transport is in place for all eligible pupils.

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 provides details of the school day, including drop off-and pick-up times.

These can 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.

Please follow the guidance provided by your school and wear face coverings if asked to.

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School meals

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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School equipment

Children are only allowed to take in a small number of items such as:

  • school bag
  • coat and hat
  • lunch box
  • books and 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 are continuing to provide a broad curriculum in all subjects, but there have been some 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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Breakfast and after-school clubs

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

If you are looking for a childcare place, 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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Planning your future

Year 11 can be both an exciting and stressful time for young people. On top of finishing coursework and taking exams, students will have to make important choices about what they want to do next year.

Working with partners across the city (school sixth forms, colleges and support services) we have prepared a guide: Planning your future post-16 – a guide for parents, carers and young people, which gives information about the options available and important things to think about.

The 2020/2021 guide has been updated to reflect the current position we find ourselves in with COVID-19. We want to support both students and their families through this difficult period as well as possible, so that they can progress successfully to their next stage.

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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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Other useful downloads

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Also see