COVID-19 Operational Guidance

Over the pandemic we have worked very hard to ensure that we can provide a high quality education experience whilst at the same time ensuring that we are doing everything possible to reduce the risk of infection.


  • These are the current education operating guidelines have been amended in accordance with Government guidance. That guidance says that ‘Specialist colleges should stay open to allow for all students with EHC Plans to attend as well as children of critical workers.

  • Natspec are discussing the definition of vulnerable children and young people with government and the need for more flexibility to account for individual circumstances.

The work that was undertaken to return students to college safely which was upon the basis of risk assessment is once again being revisited. Parents have been in discussions with staff about whether college is the safest environment for a student to be.

The online offer has been reviewed and is being delivered according to the student’s timetable. We need to make sure that when students are accessing online learning that they can access this fully and not share equipment or resources with other family members. If this is the case then you need to raise it with your curriculum manager.

We must ensure high quality online provision is delivered. If resources will be needed to participate then we will deliver to students on a weekly basis.

We do however recognise that for many of our students online delivery is not as effective as onsite delivery and we remain open to those students. Once again I would ask that staff read this information very carefully and ensure that they comply. If anyone has any concerns please contact a member of SMT.

Safeguarding / Safety for returning students

  • All students attend college upon the basis of a risk assessment which we will review regularly.

  • Students who are clinically extremely vulnerable will not attend onsite provision at this initial stage. Although at this stage this is only advice rather than a requirement of the guidance.

  • Parents/Carers will receive additional information and guidance (agreed beforehand).

When students are present in the College, a member of SMT will also be available.

SMT will review arrangements for individual students on a regular basis. If you have any concerns please contact us.


Staff who attend site will be offered tests at our testing centre. Staff have been scheduled a weekly test but can access more if they choose to.

Returning students are being offered a test and the college is taking steps through a dedicated learning programme to make sure that as many as possible undertake a test.

Students are being asked to wear masks where this is possible.

Guidelines for Site Operation

There should be a member of staff acting as a Site Supervisor. They should be:

  • First Aid trained

  • Safeguarding Alerter trained

  • Fire Warden and able to manage the evacuation of the building in the event of a fire

  • Responsible for hygiene in the site

Students should have staggered start and finish times in order not to create bottlenecks, which reduce the ability for social distancing. The Site Supervisor will organise this and amend if necessary.

Site Supervisors need to regularly wipe down areas that might be subject to regular touch, such as door handles, kettle handles and light switches.

What should be at each site?

Each site should have a PPE station and a first aid kit.

All staff will need to ensure that they have suitable PPE with them or available at all times.

There should be sufficient hand sanitiser upon arrival and throughout the building. Please contact your site supervisor if you find that there is a lack of hand sanitiser in a particular area.

Within the college environment, PPE should continue to be utilised as it previously was. Even when 2 meter distancing is not able to be completed, in the following instances additional PPE should be introduced:

  • Students whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE (disposable gloves, disposable apron). Additional PPE such as fluid resistant masks to be worn, due to their intimate/personal care needs within 2 metres to ensure they continue to receive their care in the same way. Supporting students going to the toilet, changing a continence pad and any other personal care. A student who is known to display extreme behavioural cases where infection prevention control can’t be followed.

  • Should a learner become unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in their setting and need direct personal care until they can return home. A fluid-5 of 8resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the student is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the person carrying out any task. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn.

  • On each site there will be an area to safely dispose of PPE, please ensure that you use the correct bin.

  • Staff will wear masks at all times when working with students indoors.

  • The College has a supply of facemasks that should be used when administering personal care. You will need to ensure that the use of the mask does not in itself present a hygiene risk and is changed and disposed of in accordance with general government advice.

During the period of lockdown no public transport should be used during lessons.

Room usage

Wherever possible students and staff will use the same room.

Each room will have the capacity on the door. Please check capacity before entry. If room is up to capacity, do not enter.

Do not use a room unless you are timetabled to use it. If you have a problem with the allocation please discuss in the first instance with the Site Supervisor.

During this period please be especially careful that room capacities do not slip at any time.

Arrival at College


We will be asking staff to ensure that they arrive and follow the arrival protocol before students arrive.

When arriving at work, ensure that you wait to enter the building if others are signing in. Please use the hand sanitisers available and once you have entered the building wash your hands.

Sign in as normal, if signing in involves a paper process please use your own pen.


Upon entry into buildings, handwashing and sanitising takes place before sign in (this applies to staff and students). Sanitising stations are available upon entry and throughout the buildings. If further stations are needed please let the site supervisor know.

We would not encourage parents, escorts or drivers to enter the building. Staff should greet students outside and arrange to enter the building according to direction from the site supervisor.

Entry into each building needs to be managed to ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times.

Entry routines should now be established in order that students remember the rules. These include hand sanitiser, reminder about social distancing and hygiene. These apply to entry to new rooms/areas not just the building.

Upon arrival, staff to check student feels well and no concerns or symptoms at home. If this is indicted then students should be isolated and confirmation sought at home. Staff with the student should wear full PPE i.e. masks, gloves and aprons.

During this period, whenever a student feels unwell even if symptoms are not COVID related please isolate and seek advice.

Rooms and buildings

Environments will allow for social distancing, so removal of chairs and tables will result in natural space being created and should not be changed regardless of activities.

Floors etc. will be have social distancing markers and students and staff should abide by this at all times.

Doors wherever possible should be left open to ensure that handles are not being touched as frequently as we would normally do. Please be advised by Site Supervisors about fire doors.

Windows should be open wherever possible to ensure that fresh air is circulating.

Staff should not congregate together in corridors and ensure that students do not do so.

During the College day

Whilst the weather allows then please ensure that external activities are planned: walks with a purpose or those exercises allowed under Government guidelines. Please ensure that equipment is not shared and is wiped down after use.

If a student becomes unwell whilst at College then they should be isolated and staff with them should wear full PPE i.e. gloves, aprons and masks. Contact the site supervisor if this happens in order that we can contact parents/carers.

Throughout the day, surfaces should be wiped down and students should be involved in this activity to ensure that they are learning about good hygiene.

Handwashing should also continue throughout the day, particularly when transferring from one area to another or where food is concerned.

We will be asking students to bring packed lunches and eat only their own food unless it is part of a formal session which is timetabled and therefore time in a kitchen area is scheduled.

Each kitchen area will have its own safe system of work which will be shared with staff who are using the area.

Activities need to ensure that social distancing is maintained. Where materials are touched by staff and students, gloves should be worn for the session and discarded after use. Wipe down keyboards, iPads etc. after use.

Where students are required to wear PPE such as boots, they should not share and each student needs a named high vis jacket or pair of boots.

If staff are working on a session that requires PPE then you will need to order your own kit via the college before the start of term.

PPE should be used where personal care is required.

Where a member of staff is lone working then the lone working process applies.

Breaks and mealtimes will be staggered to ensure that social distancing is maintained. It is important that these times are adhered to.

Staff please ensure that you use only your own cups and cutlery and wipe down after use. We will have some items that will be shared such as refreshments, fridges, kettles etc. Please wipe down as much as you can to ensure that we are reducing the chances of cross contamination.

Leaving College

Each site will be clear of clutter and all surfaces clear. There will be a clean desk policy implemented with only items that are permanent left on desks.

Staff and students will stagger departure times.

Guidance for operating online sessions

  • All staff operating online lessons should be familiar with the Acceptable Use policy.

  • The start of the session should also involve the setting of boundaries.

  • Be fully and appropriately dressed. (Parents will also be advised of this)

  • Only record the lesson where this is explicitly agreed.

  • Avoid 1-1 sessions with those students who are under 18.

  • When using Teams or Zoom, consider the following:

    • Think about the background; photos, artwork, identifying features, mirrors – ideally the backing should be blurred

  • Wherever possible do not run the session from your bedroom or the student’s bedroom.

  • Ensure that resources used are age / understanding appropriate.

  • Always remember that the lesson is a College lesson and the rules that applied whilst the student attended College continue.

  • Think about time of contacts. It is not appropriate to be conducting catch-ups etc. with students at night. If their sleeping patterns are causing difficulties with timing then please raise it as a safeguarding concern.

Please remember to log all contacts on Databridge and to record any concerns through the normal safeguarding process. If you have a serious concern please email or telephone one of the Safeguarding team immediately:

  • Tracey Forman

  • Vic Myko

  • Gemma Starbuck Adams

  • Helen Whyte

Last Updated: Jan 2021