After one of the strangest times that many of us can remember, schools are facing the start of the 2021-22 academic year with a mixture of trepidation over what the future might bring and determination to return to some form of normality as soon as possible. This toolkit offers some guidance for schools preparing for the start of the new academic year.

What should you do as a school?

  1. Although the Covid-19 crisis has receded somewhat in the face of the vaccination programme, the virus is still very much in evidence and is unpredictable. There is no way to know if a new variant will emerge, leading to a surge of infections and another lockdown.

    The Covid-19 Toolkit for Schools provides a step-by-step guide for managing the coronavirus in schools, including key information template policies, and is continually checked and updated. Additional resources can be found in Accidents and Emergencies and Crisis Management Planning.

  2. The Government is keen to reimpose the systems of testing and inspection that were suspended during the Covid crisis. Ofsted has announced that it will resume routine inspections in England at the start of the autumn term. Education Inspection Framework provides more guidance for schools looking to prepare for the resumption of inspections. For independent schools, see ISI Inspections. “How To” guides are available covering how to become a self-evaluating school and how to complete a self-evaluation statement, preparation for an external inspection, preparing for an ISI inspection and the Education Inspection Framework.

    Assessment, Performance Tables and Setting Targets includes an Assessment Policy and a guide to managing assessment, while Appraising Performance provides further details on arrangements for managing staff performance, such as an Appraisal Policy and a Guide to Appraising Performance.

  3. Lockdown has raised numerous issues regarding pupil welfare. Staff should be alert to any child protection concerns that might have arisen. There may also be issues relating specifically to vulnerable children. Model policies are available in child protection, the Prevent Duty and safeguarding, as well as a training presentation covering child protection.

    More generally, the pandemic has caused considerable disruption to school attendance. For guidance, see the Attendance and Truancy Policy and Guide to Authorised and Unauthorised Absence. Schools will also need to ensure that they prevent bullying. Model policies are available covering both bullying and cyberbullying.

  4. Communication with parents will be more important than ever during the coming year. For further information, see the Communication with Parents Policy.

  5. School leaders may wish to take this opportunity to review their improvement planning before the start of the new academic year. For further information, see the School Improvement Planning Policy and Guide to School Improvement Planning.

Last reviewed 8 September 2021