Colleges and training providers should continue to deliver education for 16 to 19-year-olds on site during the new national lockdown, but have been told to move adult learners to online teaching where possible.
The Department for Education has this afternoon published its guidance for delivering FE this month ahead of the national restrictions set to be implemented from tomorrow until 2 December.
It confirms that further education settings will “remain open to on site delivery for the duration of the national restrictions”.
Face coverings should be worn by adults and students when “moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained”.
For 16 to 19 study programmes, providers should “continue to seek to deliver the majority of education on site unless they have had written public health advice to move some groups to remote teaching”, in which case they should “inform their ESFA territorial team”.
And if there are “operational constraints which necessitate a greater proportion of online teaching”, providers should “discuss this with their ESFA territorial team directly or email FED.COVIDCENTRAL@education.gov.uk, ahead of any announcement”.
Providers have been told to preserve provision on site for learners who “need it”, including vulnerable learners, children of key workers and learners without access to devices/connectivity at home.
For adult education, the DfE is asking providers to “consider moving to online teaching where possible to do so while still achieving educational objectives”.
Where education needs to continue on site to enable access to equipment, or where students cannot access remote delivery, this “can continue in a Covid-secure way”.
The guidance also states that apprenticeships and other training in the workplace will “continue where those sectors remain open” but DfE expects to see “particular impacts in hospitality and retail”.
In terms of sport and physical education, this can continue “as part of education and training”.
Outdoor sports should however be “prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not, maximising distancing between consistent student groups and paying scrupulous attention to cleaning and hygiene and using maximum fresh air ventilation through either opening doors and windows or ventilation systems”.
Competition between different colleges should not take place, in line with the wider restrictions on grassroots sport.
For clinically extremely vulnerable young people, adults and staff, they are advised not to attend education whilst the national restrictions are in place.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We must put the interests of our children and young people first, especially when the benefits of being in the classroom are clear.
“Education is a national priority and we cannot allow it to be disrupted again.”