What are theand extra-curricular activities booking?
In this blog, we look at COVID guidelines for curriculum enrichment. Can school deploy services of external specialist educational providers such as educational workshops, educational visit destination and sports and arts clubs?
The current pandemic guideline has led to some degree of public confusion. The condition is even greater in the sector of education and care provision. While one set of rules applies to the household socialisation, the expectations differ when it comes to schools.
The Guidance for full opening: schools from the Department of Education is available on the GOV.UK website.
Updated on the 5th of November, along with the original suggestion, the website provides links to other pages indicating COVID rules for schools in the light of the tighter social restriction measures.
The government message is clear with regards to education. The aim is that ‘all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time throughout the autumn term’. Schools already dedicated tremendous efforts to support this aim by accommodating their operation and facilities to the new requirements.
However, the end-users had to clarify the scope in which school can operate in the deployment of external services. It is important to remember that in the current situation there is an expectation that schools continue to provide a high-quality education. The guidelines explicitly state that the provision needs to promote ‘development and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life’ to all pupils’.
Despite the expectations, schools are reluctant to engage with the external providers of valuable learning experiences. As a result, pupils miss out on enhanced curricular and extracurricular provision in and out of school settings.
What are the implications of the COVID guidelines for curriculum enrichment provision?
GOV.UK site updated information states that: ‘We would expect schools to ensure any changes required in light of national restrictions are in place as soon as practically possible and by Monday the 9th of November at the latest.’
The guideline does not, however, offer specific updates nor restrictions concerning the previously published policy on the curricular and extracurricular activities other than Music and Drama. Furthermore, the information next to the Music, Dance, and Drama take the reader back to the initially published information. Thus, the content of the update directs users to apply already available advice.
Music, dance, and drama:
Music, dance, and drama can be undertaken in school so long as safety precautions are undertaken. The ‘full opening guidance for schools’ provided in the advice.
‘Schools and further education colleges remain open, and children can participate in PE and sport where it is part of the curriculum or part of the core timetable of the school. Sporting and physical activity is also permitted as part of other supervised activities for children (such as wraparound care), where it is necessary to enable their parents or carers to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for respite care.
This means that schools can work with coaches, clubs and organisations for curricular activities. Of course, the assumption is that all necessary precautions are in place.’
Educational visits and trips:
The ‘Guidance for full opening: schools’ sets out the department’s position about educational visits. In line with this Guidance, providers should not offer overnight or residential trips for children. This also extends to any overseas trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings. The advice remains under review and will be subject to change in the light of new coming scientific evidence.
Notably, ‘providers can offer non-overnight domestic educational visits or trips’. If done in like with protective measure, e.g. children being in their consistent groups and the place of education has the COVID-secure measures in place. Risk assessment in line with health and safety guidance on educational visits advice needs to be undertaken before the visit.
Curriculum Enhancement Providers Deployment:
‘All pupils continue to be taught a wide range of subjects, maintaining their choices for further study and employment.’ To achieve the aim of the broad and ambitious curriculum, the guideline not specifies but indicate that it is plausible to engage the service of external specialist providers. By inviting specialists, providers in the schools can make sure that the chosen activities are the line of school policies.
In summary, the school can benefit from the services of external providers of curricular and extracurricular activities. The school can invite different workshop provides (e.g. animal encounter, mobile planetariums, science shows, creative writing workshops etc). The schools also can run sport and creative provision activities on their premises as well as organised out-of-school trips. Schools can do this with existing educational groups arrangements assuming complement with risk assessment and other necessary precautions.