Back to school

Published: 28 August 2020


Key service changes: schools will reopening in September. No longer a need for separate key workers' children school place applications.

Understandably it may be an anxious time for parents, teachers and children themselves as schools reopen in September.  The government has set out controls for schools to minimise contact and to maintain social distancing wherever possible.

Your school should be in contact to let you know the arrangements for your child. If you need any information, please contact your child’s school directly.

As schools are preparing to open fully to all pupils at the start of term in September 2020, there is no longer a need for specific applications for key workers' children so we are no longer processing these.

As schools return in September, buses, as the most common transport mode for schoolchildren are likely to see the biggest increase in demand. To help manage this Transport for London (TfL) have added over 200 extra buses to the network during peak times and are planning to prioritise some of these school services, find out more and check to see if your route is affected.

Please watch TfL's back to school travel tips video and see what changes have been made to help keep the buses to safe and clean.

Walking, cycling or scooting to school is a great way to keep healthy and to create space for others on the network. TfL's new STARS Safer Journey Planner can help you plan your journeys and provides useful travel advice.

Do not send your child to their nursery, childminder, school or college if:

  • they are showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
  • someone in their household is showing symptoms
  • they are told by the NHS Test and Trace service that they have been in close contact with a positive case and they are asked to self-isolate
  • they have travelled to a country not on the travel corridor list when you must quarantine on return to the UK

If anyone in your household is displaying symptoms you must all stay home and self-isolate.

Arrange a test if you or your child develops symptoms. Inform your nursery, childminder, school or college of the results.

If the test is positive, follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, and help NHS Test and Trace reach your contacts.  If you or anyone in your family feels that they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition worsens, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days then use the NHS 111 online service.  If you do not have internet access call NHS 111, and for a medical emergency dial 999.  

Remember to regularly wash your hands and encourage children to do so too.  Keep a safe distance from other households, including at drop off or pick up times and use a face covering in line with guidance from your school or college. Following these rules supports the action your schools, nursery, childminder or college is taking and helps keep us all safe.

Read the latest back to school advice from the Greater London Authority (GLA), including travelling to school, face covering, health advice and looking after mental health. 

Face coverings

Current Government guidance on face coverings for schools in areas of England where the transmission of the virus is high states:

  • Face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils in secondary schools when moving around the school, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain
  • It will not be necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom, where protective measures already mean the risks are lower, and where they can inhibit learning.

This guidance also applies to further education colleges and will be reflected in guidance to universities.  Face coverings are not required for children in primary schools or early years settings where the risks are lower.

Find more information on face coverings including how to make your own face mask on the GLA face-covering guidance page.


Before children start school in September, it is really important that they are up to date with the vaccinations to protect them from several contagious and potentially serious diseases.

Parents can book an appointment with their GP.  All London GPs have adapted their delivery of vaccinations to ensure that they are safely vaccinating children in COVID-19 secure venues with social distancing, Personal Protective Equipment and infection control measures in place. Visit the NHS website for more information.

Students, parents, carers and teachers are all likely to be feeling anxious about returning to nursery, school or college.  Help and resources for schools to support the mental health of their staff and students can be found in the Schools Mental Health Toolkit.

For parents and carers, the Government has produced guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Take a look at GLA's Coronavirus and looking after your mental health webpage for tips and advice to help keep yourself mentally well.

School Admission Appeal Panel Hearings will now take place virtually. Parents will be sent an electronic link to join the hearing remotely.


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