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Welcoming children and young people back to school

Returning to school

Blackpool’s primary schools reopened to all pupils on 8 March. Secondary school year groups and college students were welcomed back throughout the week, with asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in place for them.

Face coverings continue to be recommended in class for secondary school students and staff, and also for parents and staff in primary schools. 
Most of our schools remained open throughout the pandemic to support critical workers and vulnerable children and we have managed this safely. We thank the teachers and support staff for all that they have done.

We still believe that school is absolutely the best place for children and young people to be.

Attending school is vital for:

  • Children’s educational progress
  • Wellbeing
  • Wider development

This is why we need to ensure all pupils attend school, where possible.Working with schools, we have strengthened existing protective safety measures.

In order for all pupils to return to the classroom, secondary school and college students will take COVID-19 tests from 8 March – in addition to regular testing for all teachers – to reduce the chance of the virus spreading in schools.Primary school staff will continue to take two rapid COVID-19 tests each week at home.

The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school.As a council, we will continue to offer our support every step of the way, including providing round the clock access to any public health support that is required.

We encourage everyone to play their part by keeping their distance at school drop-offs and pickups, wearing a face covering, practicing good hand hygiene and isolating and getting a test when needed – all of this will help to break the chain of transmission.

If parents have any concerns, then they can either get in touch with the individual school directly or contact the Pupil Welfare Service by emailing

  • Safety measures

    We understand that some parents will have concerns about their children returning to school. The safety of children and young people in Blackpool is a priority for the council.

    There is clear evidence that the risk to children from COVID-19 infection is lower than in the general population.

    The rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased since schools and colleges restricted their opening to most pupils in March, the NHS Test and Trace system is up and running and we understand more about the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments in schools.


    Schools have been working hard to put in place a range of protective measures such as staff and pupils cleaning their hands more often, ensuring good respiratory hygiene (for example, adopting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it' approach with coughs and sneezes), introducing enhanced cleaning including for frequently touched surfaces and minimising contact and maintaining social distancing between individuals by keeping groups separate with the ‘bubble' approach.

    A small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves, or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19).


    Parents and carers need to ensure that if their child or someone in their household has symptoms then they should not send them to school.

    Transmission rates are continually under review and should the need arise for a school year or school to close then plans will be in place for pupils to ensure that they receive an education away from the classroom.

    Social distancing

    Social distancing for adults should remain in line with the regulations and guidance.

    Blackpool Council is helping schools to return to full capacity by offering the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, masks, visors and hand sanitiser, screens for reception and dining areas, assistance with risk assessments and support for governance, information on local testing availability, public health advice and other safety measures.


    National guidance states that in the majority of cases staff in schools do not need PPE, even where it is not always possible to maintain a distance of two metres from others.

    Schools are to keep up to date with the latest guidance from Public Health England and the Department for Education on when PPE is required in schools and how to use it and dispose of it safely and appropriately.

    Blackpool Council will be offering support through its Outbreak Management Hub in collaboration with Public Health England to respond to cases that might occur within a school.

    If parents have any concerns, then they should contact the individual school directly and have a chat through those worries with the teachers.

    Testing for schools

    Secondary and college students

    Symptom-free testing has now been introduced for secondary school and college students.

    Secondary school and college students will take rapid Covid-19 tests twice a week at home, after they have completed 3 initial tests on their return to school/college.

    Primary school children

    Primary school children will not be regularly tested due to low levels of transmission between younger aged children, but they will still need to come forward for tests if they have symptoms.

    Testing for families and the wider school community

    Whole families, households and bubbles with primary school, secondary school and college age children in them can now test themselves twice every week from home.

    Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders.

    Getting your tests

    You can order home test kits online OR collect tests via a local or regional testing site.

    There is no need to book an appointment - you can just drop-in.

    Find your local site for collection

    You will be able to:

    • Collect 2 packs of 7 rapid self-test kits to take home, per individual collecting (up to a maximum of 4 packs e.g. for very large or extended families). The testing regime is twice per week per person.
    • Take the tests at home.
    • Register the test and record the results at home, using the NHS website or through the 119 call centre for positive, negative and void results.
    • If you have a positive self-test result, you will be asked to take a laboratory Covid-19 test to confirm the result by either ordering one online or by booking an appointment to attend a local test site.

    Symptom-free testing is voluntary, but it can help give you peace of mind and protect families and schools.

    Anybody in a household or bubble with someone who goes to school will be able to pick up 2 packs of 7 test kits just by giving their name and contact details when they visit a collection site.

    Blackpool residents can currently collect kits from the Yeadon Way testing site: Get local site collection times

    From Monday 22 March, you can also collect test kits from any of Blackpool's symptom-free testing sessions at local hubs: Get details of symptom-free testing hub venues and times

    If you cannot collect tests from a test site, order rapid test kits online.

    We will provide further updates via our website and social media channels once the full details for Blackpool residents are confirmed.

  • Attendance

    Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind.

    Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school.

    School attendance is therefore now mandatory again. This means that the usual rules on school attendance now apply.

    You can be prosecuted if you do not give your child an education. You'll normally get warnings and offers of help first.

    Blackpool council can give each parent a fine of £60, which rises to £120 each if you do not pay within 21 days. If you do not pay the fine after 28 days you may be prosecuted for your child's absence from school.

    If you're having trouble getting your child to attend, the school and Blackpool Council can help.

    Blackpool Council have a pupil welfare team that help parents improve their child's attendance at school. Your school will be able to put you in contact with the relevant pupil welfare service officer.

  • Parent preparation

    For many families, back to school planning has been different this year than it has been in previous years. Your school will have new policies in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Whatever the situation, the checklist below is intended to help parents, guardians, and caregivers, plan and prepare.


    Schools will encourage parents, staff and pupils to walk or cycle to school if at all possible. For some families, driving children to school will also be an option.

    It is hoped that at least 50% of those pupils who usually travel on public transport will shift their journeys to cycling or walking. However, these options will not be suitable for all.

    For mainstream schools, Blackpool Transport are aware of the needs of the children and we are well planned.

    Extra vehicles and staff will be deployed to ensure that all children who have been approved transport can be accommodated. Currently there will be six extra buses operating plus additional contracts available if needed.

    Most buses will be operating on a reduced capacity to facilitate the transportation of pupils in ‘bubbles' as agreed with schools and to accommodate social distancing. Families and carers are being encouraged if possible to walk or cycle as an alternative.

    The council's in house transport provision for children with special educational needs will also be fully operational from the start of the new school academic year.

    Rigorous hygiene, cleaning and reporting procedures have been put in place to minimise the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and risk assessments have been completed by transport services and schools.

    Only older young people will use public transport independently and we are working with Blackpool Transport to support this if and when the need arises. Schools will support from day one with expectations about behaviours and parents will be provided with the necessary information.

    If you are planning to travel to school or college by bus then make sure that you are aware of the important changes that Blackpool Transport are making to help you get to and from class as safely as possible.

    The government is advising that the use of public transport by pupils is kept to an absolute minimum during peak times to reduce demand on the system and ensure that it is available for those who need it most.

    You should not travel at all if you:

    Cleaning on school transport

    Blackpool Transport have provided the following information:

    • In service cleaning will be carried out by a team who operate around the town, meeting vehicles at terminus and timing points and conducting touch point sanitation
    • We have notices on our vehicles asking passengers to follow government guidelines
    • We have seats isolated within vehicles carrying around 40% capacity under 1 metre social distancing.

    Face coverings on board

    Face coverings are required at all times on public transport (for children over the age of 11).

    Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult

    to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory


    Some people don't have to wear a face covering including for health, age or equality reasons.

    Face coverings

    In schools where pupils in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, such as in corridors and communal areas, and in classrooms where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. This was already the case for pupils in year 7 and above, and staff and visitors for those schools that were in areas where local alert level ‘high' and ‘very high'

    Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings and we expect adults and pupils to be sensitive to those needs.

    In primary schools and education settings teaching year 6 and below, there is no change to the existing position. It is not mandatory for staff and visitors to wear face coverings. In situations where social distancing between adults in settings is not possible (for example when moving around in corridors and communal areas), settings have the discretion to recommend the use of face coverings for adults on site, for both staff and visitors.

    Face coverings are required at all times on public transport (except children under the age of 11), when attending a hospital as a visitor or outpatient, or when in a shop or a supermarket. They should also be worn by pupils in year 7 and above when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college.


    Full uniform is expected to be worn for all schools. Check with the individual school for the uniform requirements.

    There is no need for anything other than normal personal hygiene and washing of clothes following a day in a school. Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often or differently than usual.

    School meals

    Following the return of pupils from 8 March, the national voucher scheme for children on free school meals will come to an end.

    Schools will provide free school meals as usual for those who are eligible.

    The normal legal requirements will apply about provision of food to all pupils who want it, including for those eligible for benefits-related free school meals or universal infant free school meals.

    Extra-curricular activities

    Schools will be permitted to run breakfast and after-school activities. Schools will need to make sure these can be delivered in line with the wider guidance on protective measures, so they may need to run things differently and adapt over time.

    You should talk to your child's school about whether or not they will be able to run breakfast and after-school activities immediately.


    See the latest update from the Department for Education