Ahead of the new academic year, the government has issued new guidance for schools and education settings.

Last updated Monday 25 August 2021 at 9:30am

Key updates from government guidance

Schools and education settings will be returning to face-to-face education. 

School attendance is mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age. We encourage all children and young people to take every opportunity to attend their school, college or nursery this year.

We know through research that coronavirus transmission rates in schools are roughly equal to or less than those of the surrounding community. This means that what happens in schools or nursery reflects what is happening in the local community. Thankfully, for the majority of children Covid is a mild to moderate illness, whilst lost education has a significant impact on pupil health, wellbeing and their life chances.

Start times

Please check with your school what time your child needs to attend. Staggered start and finish times will be ending but some schools may still change timings to manage on-site testing and the start of term. 


Secondary schools and colleges have been asked to prepare for on-site testing at the beginning of the autumn term. All secondary school pupils should receive two on-site lateral flow device (LFD) tests, 3 to 5 days apart.

It is important that secondary age pupils then continue to test twice a week at home, at least until the end of September when this will be reviewed. 

Pupils with a positive LFD test result should self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test.

What to expect from September 2021

The priority is for the return of face to face education so settings should largely operate as normal. This means it is no longer necessary to keep children in consistent groups (‘bubbles’) and more mixing will take place between classes and year groups.

If your child has COVID symptoms

Do not send your child to their nursery, childminder, school or college if:

  • they are showing one or more symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • they have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • they are required to quarantine having recently visited a red list travel ban country

If you or your child develop symptoms, self-isolate immediately and book a test online with the NHS or call 119. 

If your child is identified as a contact of a positive COVID case

You may be contacted by NHS Test and Trace or the school or education setting and informed that your child has been identified as a contact. They will not need to isolate but will need to book a PCR test. They will be able to continue going to school or nursery if they have no symptoms and are well. If the test is positive or they have symptoms they must then isolate.

Others in the household will not be required to isolate if they are fully vaccinated or are below the age of 18 years and 6 months. If others in the household are over 18 and 6 months but not fully vaccinated, they must isolate as a contact. You can find out more here.

School transport

Face coverings are recommended on dedicated school transport and public transport in line with government expectation to wear face coverings in crowded areas when prevalence is high. This does not apply to Special Educational Needs Transport and all families using this service have been contacted individually regarding arrangements from September 2021.

Hand hygiene

Please ensure that your child (and all those in your household) continue to regularly wash their hands. This should be done for 20 seconds with soap and running water or hand sanitiser.


COVID vaccination provides good protection against being seriously ill and dying of COVID-19. We encourage everyone aged 16 years and over to take the opportunity to have their vaccinations. 

Booked and drop in slots are available across the country. There are many options in Sheffield including evenings and weekends. You can also book online or call 119 free of charge to make an appointment. Find out more about vaccinations at Coronavirus - Getting vaccinated or go to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to find out about walk in clinics.

Outbreak management

Our Local Authority Public Health Team and Public Health England will be prioritising working closely with all settings to help manage any outbreaks. We will do everything we can to keep our children and communities safe whilst maintaining their education and face to face learning.

Government guidance for schools and education settings

Remote education

Where appropriate, schools and settings will support those who need to self-isolate because they have tested positive to work or learn from home if they are well enough to do so.