The Department for Education’s guidance for education and childcare settings sets out the process for managing confirmed positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) when the individual is known to have been in a school, college or early years setting.

From 17 September, there will be a new dedicated advice service available to advise nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges who have been informed of a confirmed case(s) of COVID-19 in their setting (i.e. a pupil or staff member testing positive). 

This means that instead of calling the local health protection team when there is a confirmed case in an education setting, DfE will now be asking that education settings call the DfE’s helpline where they will be directed to the dedicated NHS advice team for nurseries, schools and colleges with confirmed cases.

This new service can be reached by calling DfE’s existing helpline on 0800 046 8687 and selecting the option for reporting a positive case. The line will be open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. This option should only be selected if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within a nursery, school or college.

Callers will be put through to a team of advisors who will advise on what action is needed based on the latest public health advice, and work through a risk assessment to identify close contacts. This new process will free up capacity of the Public Health England’s local health protection teams to deal with more complex cases, for example special schools and universities, or outbreaks where there is more than one confirmed case. Advisors will be responsible for escalating these cases as necessary following a triaging of your circumstances during the call.

The new advice service has been set up to advise the following education settings: early years settings including nurseries and childminders; schools including primary schools, infant or junior schools, middle schools, secondary schools, boarding schools, special schools; and further education providers.

The DfE helpline also remains available for all other queries about COVID-19 relating to your education and childcare setting on 0800 046 8687.