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26th March 2020

Guidance on implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings

On 24 March, we published new guidance on how to implement social distancing in education and childcare settings. This guidance also gives advice for individuals in vulnerable health groups:

It is important to read this alongside the overall guidance for social distancing:

School governance update

We have published an update about school governance which includes guidance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19):

Guidance for commercial suppliers

You may be aware that Cabinet Office has issued guidance on providing support to suppliers during and after coronavirus (COVID-19).

A Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 220 sets out information and guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity:

We are aware of the high number of requests you have already had from your suppliers requesting support in line with the PPN. Please make sure you are familiar with this guidance before agreeing any support with your suppliers.

Contracting authorities, including the Department for Education (DfE), are considering how to respond to suppliers at risk, so that they are in a position to resume normal contract delivery once the outbreak is over.

We are working to provide more detailed advice and guidance to you on what this means for the suppliers that support you.

Please direct any questions to the DfE Commercial team by emailing:


Resources for educational settings

We have updated our guidance for schools and other educational settings on how best to provide advice about coronavirus (COVID-19). A new poster resource is now available:

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.​UK

All of the Department for Education’s coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.​UK:

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found here:

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UKPRN) available when calling the hotline.

Please keep your GIAS contacts up to date

Please take this opportunity to review your contact information in Get Information About Schools (GIAS).

To update your record, please go to the GIAS home page, “Sign in” using your “DfE Sign-in” credentials and select GIAS from your available services here: