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Coronavirus advice for schools and parents

We're offering coronavirus guidance and support to all Derbyshire schools to do everything we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of pupils, staff, parents and their families. Schools are being advised to follow the Department for Education guidance.

Find out more about COVID-19 guidance for educational settings.

We'll continue to share information and the latest updates from Public Health England, the NHS and the government.

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education has set up a school helpline to answer questions from staff, parents and young people about coronavirus issues related to education.

PHE East Midlands response centre

Tel: 0344 225 4524 followed by Option 0 to get through to East Midlands Health Protection Team, then press option 1, then ask for the Coronavirus Response Centre.

Open from 8am to 8pm.

Schools wider re-opening update

Following the closure of schools, nurseries, child minders and colleges March 2020 - except for those looking after children of 'key workers' and vulnerable children - new guidance from the government will now see some children able to go back to school.

See more information for parents and carers to help prepare for the wider opening of nurseries, schools and colleges from 1 June 2020.

Our Cabinet Member for Young People Councillor Alex Dale sets out our position on the government’s wider school re-opening plans.

You can also find out more about the measures being taken to reduce the risk to your children, teachers and school staff.

Weekly food shopping vouchers for children eligible for free school meals

The government has launched a food shopping voucher scheme to support children eligible for free school meals while schools are closed due to coronavirus.

The scheme will allow schools to provide every eligible child with a weekly voucher worth £15 to spend on food at stores including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S with more joining up as the scheme rolls out.

Schools which are not able to provide meals for collection or delivery will email eligible families a code to show at the supermarket checkout or post gift cards to families without internet access.

Wherever possible schools will continue to provide meals for collection or delivery themselves. 

New guidance on free school meals for schools and parents

The Department for Education has published new guidance on free school meals to help schools and parents prepare.

Support for children to continue learning at home

We're working with schools across Derbyshire to ensure children who are not in school have the resources they need to continue their leaning at home until they can return to classes.

Lea Green and White Hall

Programmes for outdoor education and lettings at our Lea Green and White Hall centres are being suspended until at least 30 April 2020.

This decision has been made in light of the latest government advice following the coronavirus outbreak.

All groups and customers affected by the suspension will be contacted directly by centre staff to discuss their wishes in relation to their original booking.

We’re committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our visitors and employees and their health and wellbeing is our number one priority.

Lea Green and White Hall will continue to operate to deliver a limited programme of opportunities for vulnerable and targeted groups of young people.

We will continue to review the situation in relation to coronavirus and ensure we follow the most up-to-date guidance from Public Health England and the Department of Education to help protect our centre users and staff.

Mental health support available

We know that the closure of schools and the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to be an anxious and uncertain time for parents and carers.

Free online counselling to support mental health and wellbeing, without the need for a referral, is available in Derby and Derbyshire from Kooth and Qwell services.

  • Kooth is for children and young people aged 11 to 18 years, and up to 25 years for children in care
  • Qwell service is for parents and carers whose children are under 18 years

The services provide access to text-based counselling support from 12pm until 10pm on weekdays and 6pm until 10pm on weekends, and 24 hours per day, 7days per week access to online forums where concerns and relevant articles can be shared and discussed.

How to talk to your child about coronavirus

We appreciate some parents and children may be worried about themselves, members of their family, or their friends becoming ill.

There’s lots of advice about how to talk to your child about coronavirus.

The BBC's Newsround has published a useful video for children called Coronavirus: Why it might not be as scary as it sounds.

Derbyshire Educational Psychology Service

Advice and resources for parents and carers in talking to children about coronavirus and school closures is available from the Derbyshire Educational Psychology Service.

National Autistic Society

The National Autistic Society have advice, guidance and a helpline for parents’, young people and staff.


Mencap offers an easy read guide to coronavirus.


Place2be has produced a guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing.

Young Minds

Young Minds offers advice about talking to your child about coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family wellbeing.


This is an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the coronavirus outbreak.


Amaze is an information pack for parents that offers lots of information about how to tell your child about coronavirus.

Children's Commissioner

The Children's Commissioner has produced a guide to talking to your child about coronavirus.

Advice for schools

We have ways of contacting Derbyshire schools directly so they have the information they need when they need it.

Derbyshire SchoolsNet

Useful information is also available to schools on SchoolsNet.

Coronavirus advice for special schools and support centres

We’re working closely with special schools and support centres to help and guide staff during these difficult times, meet the needs of our young people, many who have acute needs, and try to reassure parents.

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister about stricter guidelines the Department for Education has already announced that the position with regards to vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers being able to attend school remains the same.

Read the government's guidance for schools about temporarily closing.

To help us support the county’s special schools and support centres and to support the coordination of this across the county, we've commissioned Esteem Multi-Academy Trust to work in partnership with it and with all special school and support centres.

They will be a single point of contact for our officers and special school headteachers and provide consistent advice, support, and information for all schools to use with parents, staff and other agencies.

As part of this, Esteem will be in touch with each special school in the county to determine a number of issues including how a core service can be provided for a minimum number of pupils - children of key workers and the most vulnerable pupils, according to safeguarding and medical needs.

For more information email

We continue to work with transport providers and we know that some transport may not be required as it currently is. We would appreciate schools liaising directly with our transport team in the usual way, to provide more information about whether the current school transport requirements are still needed.