Updated 3rd September 2020
Are you worried or concerned about the child/children you are caring for returning to school in September? We hope that our back to school information for kinship carers in Wales will help.
We know that for many kinship carers the thought of the child/children going back to school after months of being at home will be an extremely worrying time. We have been receiving a lot of enquiries from kinship carers worried about the children returning to school. On this page, we aim to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and provide you with advice and guidance regarding some of your concerns.
Please note that this information is the guidance in Wales and may differ in some areas where, for example, if there is a local lockdown in place. Please check local information where this affects you.
As you may be aware, government guidance can change quite frequently and so we would strongly recommend you check guidance regularly for any changes.
Guidance for schools
The government has issued guidance for schools on opening for the Autumn term which you may find helpful in answering some of your questions or concerns.
You can find guidance for schools here.
Guidance has been given by the Welsh government about children returning to school and this can be found here.
In Wales, the autumn term started on 1st September and schools that can accommodate all pupils from the start of the term should do so. There will be a period of flexibility in recognition that schools may want to focus on priority year groups, such as those new to secondary schools, those sitting exams next summer, or those in reception classes. This will also allow time, up to a fortnight, for any planning and reorganisation. Schools will be working on their plans and will inform parents, carers and pupils of their arrangements.
To find out more please click on each question below to reveal the answer.
Do you have to send your children back to school in September?
If you have any concerns about your child/children returning to school, please contact the school to discuss your concerns. This will help schools, settings and local authorities plan for, and understand any barriers to, learners returning to school and identify any further support needed.
Will I be fined if I do not send my child/children to school?
If your child/children do not return to school, it is the Welsh Government’s view that it would not be appropriate for a local authority or school to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or commence proceedings for non-attendance. The Welsh Government will monitor the situation over the first half term before reviewing its position.
What if your child/children or someone in your household are showing symptoms of COVID-19?
The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of one or more of the following:
- new continuous cough
- high temperature
- loss of or change to your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above you must self-isolate at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.
Important: If you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you must self-isolate at home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19. You can also find further information that you may find helpful about staying at home if you have a possible COVID 19 infection here.
Will breakfast and after school provision be provided when school return in September?
Local authorities, working with their schools must consider resuming free breakfast schemes in primary schools and should consider resuming any other breakfast provision and after school provision whether this is provision offered by the school or run out of the school by a private provider.
Local authorities should support schools and providers will need to work in close partnership to fully consider how they can make before and after school provision work alongside their wider protective measures.
What about getting my child/children to and from school?
Please see the governments operational guidance and specific school travel frequently asked questions on arrangements from September.
What about my child/children’s mental health going back to school? How will they cope with going back to school after so long?
Although many families are excited about children going back to school, we understand that many children and their kinship carers may be feeling anxious or worried about the return. It is normal to feel a little anxious after the children being out of school for such a long time and you will certainly not be alone if you are feeling a little apprehensive.
You can find some helpful information and resources through the links below:
What if my child/children have fallen behind with schoolwork during lockdown?
Many kinship carers and children have found home schooling to be a real challenge. You may be concerned that your child/children may have fallen behind with their schoolwork during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Welsh Government will be providing an additional £29 million to schools to boost support for learners at crucial stages in their education from September.
The equivalent of 600 extra teachers and 300 teaching assistants will be recruited throughout the next school year, targeting extra support at Years 11, 12 and 13, as well as disadvantaged and vulnerable learners of all ages. This will support learners taking their A level and GCSEs in 2021 and those known to have been affected most. A range of teaching approaches will be relevant, including blended learning.
What if I cannot afford to buy a school uniform for my child/children?
We understand that it can be an expensive time buying school uniforms for your child/children, but you may be able to get help with the cost.
You can find out what local support might be available to help with the cost of school uniforms by entering your postcode here.
If you are not able to get support from your local council, you may be able to get help through a charitable grant. We have a small grants team within our advice team who may be able to assist you with making an application.
Please contact our advice team to find out more about whether you might be eligible for a grant. You can contact us by completing a short form here. Please let us know what your income is as this can assist us with assessing whether you might be eligible for a grant.
For further Support – Coronavirus Information Hub for Families and Children in Wales click here.
If you need further advice, please call our advice line on 0300 123 7015 or complete our advice submission here.