Children have returned to school for the autumn term but many year groups are already being sent home as children test positive for COVID-19.
The Secretary of State for Education has now issued a direction (The Provision of Remote Education (England) Temporary Continuity Direction) under the Coronavirus Act 2020 which requires schools to provide remote education to pupils where pupils cannot attend school because of public health reasons related to COVID-19. The unions are concerned about this direction that they see as a heavy-handed tactic putting further pressure on schools.
In particular, it is noted that the direction contains specific authority for the Secretary of State to apply to the High Court or the County Court for an injunction to compel schools to comply.
As more children are sent home, schools are increasingly under pressure to put in place remote arrangements alongside classroom face to face teaching. Some schools have arranged for children who are at home due to Covid-19 concerns, to engage remotely with the physical classroom and their peers who remain in school.
Once again, there remain significant concerns for very vulnerable children with complex special educational needs who cannot access their education through remote methods.