COVID-19 Learning, curriculum and assessment

COVID-19 Learning, curriculum and assessment

Covid-19  Remote Learning

The DfE have produced a framework to help schools and further education (FE) providers in England identify strengths and areas for improvement in their remote education provision: Guidance: review your remote education provision (12 Jan 21)

Ofsted inspection will consider the quality of schools’ remote education.

The remote education provided should be equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school and will include both recorded or live direct teaching time, and time for pupils to complete tasks and assignments independently. The amount of remote education provided should be, as a minimum:

  • Key Stage 1: 3 hours a day on average across the cohort, with less for younger children
  • Key Stage 2: 4 hours a day
  • Key Stages 3 and 4: 5 hours a day


This year GCSEs, A and AS level exams will not go ahead this summer as planned, and the DfE will look at options to enable candidates to receive a grade. The Secretary of State for Education will be asking Ofqual to consult rapidly on an approach for alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.

Guide to AS and A level results for England, 2020 Ofqual’s guide to the 2020 AS and A level results in England

Ofsted inspections

Ofsted inspections to be done remotely until half term - GOV.UK ( (12 Jan 21)

All planned inspection activity will be carried out remotely until after the February half term.

Remote inspections of schools and further education providers will begin from 25 January, with a particular focus on how well children and learners are being educated remotely.

Schools rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ will be inspected as planned, but Ofsted will also follow up on complaints raised by parents across all grades of school in order to resolve issues. As these inspections will not involve an on-site visit, they will be unable to cover the full scope of a monitoring inspection.

Details of the inspection process will be published shortly. 

Resources to support Home Learning

Buckinghamshire Libraries have produced a list of resources aimed at support home learning. These can be accessed here: Resources to support Home Schooling from Buckinghamshire Libraries (

Catch-up support

The government announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up lost time after school closure. This is especially important for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds.

This funding includes a one-off universal £650 million catch-up premium for the 2020 to 2021 academic year to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time.

To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a support guide for schools with evidence-based approaches to catch up and a further school planning guide: 2020 to 2021.

Primary Assessments

The DfE recognises that due to the further disruption caused by school closures, primary assessments cannot continue as intended. They have therefore cancelled the statutory key stage 1 and key stage 2 tests and teacher assessments planned for summer 2021, including the key stage 2 tests in reading and mathematics.

Phonics screening check

We are awaiting an update on the Phonics screen check status.

Implementation of the engagement model(replacing P scales)

The engagement model is the new assessment (replacing P scales 1 to 4) for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum assessments and not engaged in subject-specific study. The STA published the engagement model guidance in March 2020 and intended that it would become statutory from September 2020.
Following the disruption caused by coronavirus, they recognise that some schools may not have had the opportunity to engage with the guidance and training opportunities, and as a result may be less prepared to implement the engagement model. Therefore, the 2020/21 academic year will be a transitionary year (subject to the necessary legislation being made) where schools will have the time to prepare for, and start embedding, the engagement model by:

  • identifying the relevant cohort of pupils
  • using the engagement areas to observe and assess the level of engagement for individual pupils
  • evaluating the curriculum

The STA will also use a flexible approach for the submission of teacher assessment outcomes at the end of key stages 1 and 2. Schools that have used the engagement model will be able to report against it, and schools that need more time to implement this change will continue to have the option to assess against P scales 1 to 4, for one final year.  The expectation is that the engagement model will become statutory from September 2021.

EYFS reforms

The government’s response to the EYFS reforms consultation confirmed that the EYFS reforms early adopter year will be going ahead for primary and infant schools that choose to participate. All schools that had previously signed up to become early adopters were contacted on 6 July 2020 to confirm participation.

Schools that do not choose to be early adopters of the EYFS reforms, along with all other early years providers, must continue to follow the current 2017 EYFS framework in the 2020/21 academic year.

Reception baseline assessment early adopter year

The statutory introduction of the reception baseline assessment (RBA) has been postponed until September 2021. Instead, schools have the flexibility to opt into the RBA early adopter year in 2020/21. Details of how to register were emailed to schools from the STA on 25 June 2020.

Publishing of performance data

The government state, in the following guidance: Coronavirus COVID-19 school and college performance measures:

We will not be publishing school, college or multi-academy trust (MAT) level performance data based on summer 2020 tests, assessments and exams at any phase.

We will not be publishing, or sharing, school, college or MAT level accountability measures, such as Progress 8 and level 3 value added, using the summer 2020 data.

The performance tables that were due to be released in October and December 2020, and in January and March 2021, will not go ahead.

We will also not publish any institution-level qualification achievement rates in the national achievement rate tables for the 2019 to 2020 academic year.

Department for Education case studies

The Department for Education has been working with schools to develop guidance based on the current experiences and practices of teachers and school leaders.  It has published a number of case studies to support schools during this period, with examples of practice for remote education from schools and academies across England-  to see all of the case studies see: Remote education practice for schools during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The guidance outlines some approaches that have worked for schools and includes case studies and information about:

Education Endowment Support

The Education Endowment Foundation has published A COVID-19 Support Guide for Schools. This guide is designed to help teachers and school leaders support their pupils effectively. It summarises support strategies that school leaders may consider including as part of their response to the pandemic.

COVID-19 Support Guide for Schools

Ofsted inspections

Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update - GOV.UK (

Full, graded Ofsted inspections will not resume until the summer term.

In the interim, Ofsted will conduct supportive monitoring inspections to those schools and colleges currently judged “inadequate” and some that “require improvement”.

These inspections will focus on important issues like curriculum, remote education and pupil attendance, particularly of vulnerable children.

Ofsted will also continue to have the power to inspect a school, further education or early years provider, if they have serious concerns, including about safeguarding and remote education.

Catch-up support

One-off grant funding will be paid to all state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in the 2020 to 2021 academic year to support catch-up. Whilst headteachers will decide how the money is spent, the Education Endowment Foundation has published guidance on effective interventions to support schools. For pupils with complex needs, the government strongly encourages schools to spend this funding on catch-up support to address their individual needs.

Alongside this universal offer, the government will roll out a National Tutoring Programme, with the aim of delivering proven and successful tuition to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, accelerating their academic progress and preventing the gap between them and their more affluent peers widening.

The evidence shows that tutoring is an effective way to accelerate learning, and we, therefore, believe a targeted tutoring offer is the best way to narrow the gaps that risk opening up due to attendance at school being restricted.

Remote education support

Where a class, group or a small number of pupils need to self-isolate, or there is a local lockdown requiring pupils to remain at home, the government expects schools to have the capacity to offer immediate remote education.

For full details, see Full opening of Schools guidance.

Education Endowment Support

The Education Endowment Foundation has published A COVID-19 Support Guide for Schools. This guide is designed to help teachers and school leaders support their pupils effectively. It summarises support strategies that school leaders may consider including as part of their response to the pandemic.

Education Endowment Foundation

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