During the period of national lockdown further education providers will remain open to vulnerable students and the children of critical workers.
All other students will learn remotely until February half term.
We know that receiving face-to-face education is best for young people’s mental health and for their educational achievement. We will continue to review the restrictions on FE providers and will ensure that students return to face-to-face education as soon as possible.
This decision does not suggest that FE providers have become significantly less safe for students. Instead limiting attendance is about supporting the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities.
We have resisted restricting attendance at FE providers until now, but in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible.
For vulnerable students and the children of critical workers, who can still attend on-site, as they did in March to July, and their teachers, the system of protective measures means that any risks are well managed and controlled.
This guidance sets out what further education (FE) and skills providers in England need to know so that students of all ages can benefit from their education and training in full. It explains the actions to take to stay as safe as possible as we continue to respond to the challenges of coronavirus (COVID-19). In light of the growth in infection rates we are seeing as a result of the newly identified strain of the virus the Government has announced that, for most students, FE providers will limit attendance from 5 January 2020 until February half term.