FE settings should stay open during national mourning

Further education leaders have been sent initial guidance from DfE following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Further education leaders have been sent initial guidance from DfE following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Colleges and training providers should remain open during the period of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth, the government said this evening.

The FE community has paid tribute to the Queen’s “dedication to public service” after it was announced she has died at the age of 96.

In an email to FE leaders the Department for Education said: “We have now entered a period of national mourning that will continue until the end of the State Funeral.

“Guidance providing the public, businesses and institutions with advice on the period of national mourning following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be issued by the Cabinet Office and available on GOV.UK.”

Once details of the funeral are confirmed, officials will contact providers again with further guidance. 

It is thought the funeral will be on Monday September 19, but no decision has been made. The King will decide whether the funeral is a bank holiday. If so, it is thought likely that schools and FE providers would close.

In the meantime, the department said schools and FE providers “should remain open”.

“Whilst normal attendance is expected, headteachers continue to have the power to authorise leaves of absence for pupils in exceptional circumstances [sic].

“Any requests for leave of absence should be considered on a case-by-case basis taking into account individual circumstances.”

Education settings may want to “consider conducting special activities, holding assemblies or adapting planned lessons to reflect the period of national mourning and commemorate the life of Her Majesty may wish to repurpose the lesson materials about the Queen’s Jubilee produced by Royal Collections Trust and The National Archives”.

Officials cite Minded as a source of information to support upset young people. The email adds: “We know teachers, lecturers, early years colleagues and social workers around the country have an important role to play in reassuring children and young people at this difficult time.”

It adds any providers wishing to “pay their respects by flying any flags at half-mast or holding silences should follow the guidance on GOV.UK”.

The guidance states that official flags, including the Union Flag, should be half-masted from as soon as possible today until 8am the day following The Queen’s State Funeral.

You can also visit the Palace’s website for more information about the mourning period: www.royal.uk.

DfE message to education leaders in full

“It is with sadness that Buckingham Palace announced today the death of Her Majesty The Queen. 

We have now entered a period of national mourning that will continue until the end of the State Funeral. Guidance providing the public, businesses and institutions with advice on the period of national mourning following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be issued by the Cabinet Office and available on GOV.​UK. 

Once details of the funeral are confirmed by the Royal Household, we will write to you with further guidance and information.

For early years providers, there is no obligation for settings to observe particular behaviours during the mourning period. Depending on the nature and location of your setting and the tone of planned events, some settings may wish to consider closing or postponing events.

Schools and Further Education settings should remain open. Whilst normal attendance is expected, headteachers continue to have the power to authorise leaves of absence for pupils in exceptional circumstances. Any requests for leave of absence should be considered on a case-by-case basis taking into account individual circumstances. 

Education and childcare settings may want to consider conducting special activities, holding assemblies or adapting planned lessons to reflect the period of national mourning and commemorate the life of Her Majesty may wish to repurpose the lesson materials about the Queen’s Jubilee produced by Royal Collections Trustand The National Archives. Primary schools may also wish to adapt ‘Queen Elizabeth: A Platinum Jubilee Celebration’, the commemorative book distributed to state-funded primary schools across the United Kingdom in 2022.

If children and young people are upset, Minded is a source of information to support children and young people to manage death and loss. 

Education and childcare settings wishing to pay their respects by flying any flags at half-mast or holding silences should follow the guidance on GOV.​UK 

You can also visit the Palace’s website for more information about the mourning period: www.royal.uk.

We know teachers, lecturers, early years colleagues and social workers around the country have an important role to play in reassuring children and young people at this difficult time.”

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