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You can follow service updates to all Hertfordshire County Council services (including libraries and schools) on their Coronavirus service updates page.

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Educational psychology - 01992 588 574 (Wednesdays 2pm - 4pm)

Specialist Advice and Support Services; see service times below) - 01442 453 920 (term time only)

  • Specific Learning Difficulties: Monday and Thursday 9.30am - 12pm
  • Speech, Language, Communication and autism Needs: Tuesday and Wednesday 1.30pm - 4pm
  • Early years: Wednesday 9am - 12pm and Thursday 1.30pm - 4pm

Resource area

We have collected practical resources to help you on a number of topics - whether you are home educating, or need strategies for mental wellbeing and building daily routines.

View our Resources Area now.

Latest guidance given to schools by the Education Leadership Team

1 December, 12.15pm

Here's a run down of the key topics from the twice-weekly update schools receive from our Education Leadership Team (from over the last 2 weeks):

Christmas celebrations and activities for students and staff

  • Can pupils and staff give and receive Christmas cards and presents this year?
    Children can give and receive cards within and outside of their bubbles, however where schools want to do this, they should adopt a 72 hour ‘quarantine’ period for the cards before delivery to another bubble.
  • Can schools have decorations and Christmas trees?
    Yes. Decorations and trees within a class bubble are fine. However, pupils should avoid touching them, as cleaning these is not easily possible. Schools should also be mindful that cleaning of some surfaces may be more difficult with decorations and should remind staff and cleaning teams that the approach to rigorous surface cleaning must take priority over decorations. If the school has a tree or other accessible decorations in a central area, then pupils/staff should avoid touching these to avoid transmission risk between bubbles.
  • What about any Christmas parties in school?
    Yes, within bubbles. However, pupils should not bring in food to share, and it would be best to provide any food and drink from one source (e.g. school kitchen or staff purchased). That way precautions around hand washing and container hygiene can be ensured.
  • Can Christmas performances happen?
    Avoiding bubble mixing and the lack of any audience means that most schools will have already considered this issue in the light of all their current processes and risk assessments. Some may have found creative ways of using technology to support any such activities.

Early closure of schools and absences ahead of the end of term

We’ve had a number of queries from head teachers about closing early for Christmas, particularly to avoid the need for staff/students to self-isolate during the Christmas holidays should they get the virus or become a close contact of a positive case.

  • The Education Leadership Team advises that schools should remain open for face to face teaching until the end of the Autumn term. Following the latest tier announcement from Government from 2 December, the expectation from DfE is that schools are to remain open. 
  • If you decide to withdraw your child/ren for the last week of term, this absence will be recorded as an unauthorised absence.

COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme and free school meals

27 November, 5pm

Winter Grant Scheme

On 8 November, Government announced a package of extra targeted financial support for those in need over the winter period. £2.49 million has been allocated for Hertfordshire out of the the COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme to support those most in need with the cost of food, energy, water bills and other associated costs. We are now working to roll out 3 different strands of support:

  •  A supermarket voucher scheme for children entitled to free school meals for Christmas 2020 and February 2021 half-term
  • Non-food offer for households with children
  • Food, bills and crisis support offer for individuals and households without children

Free school meals

We (Hertfordshire County Council) have teamed up with the Family Food Trust, a government backed charity, to deliver food vouchers to children and young people in receipt of free school meals this Christmas holiday and in February 2021 half-term.

A total of £30 per entitled child will be provided for the Christmas holidays (10 days) and £15 per child for the February 2021 half-term (5 days). Families will receive support for each of these holidays separately, before the end of each term.  

This support is not available for children entitled to Universal Infant Free School Meals, but entitled children in Reception, Year 1 and 2 will receive a voucher.

The electronic vouchers for food and groceries can be downloaded and used in 4 major supermarkets (Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s) and will be sent to families directly by email or if necessary, they can be printed, and we will distribute them.

Families who do not qualify for free school meals but are worried about their finances or having enough food this winter can contact HertsHelp, email, call 0300 123 4044 or visit the HertsHelp website.

18 November: guidance given to schools by the Education Leadership Team

18 November, 4.30pm

Here's a run down of the key topics from the twice-weekly update schools receive from our Education Leadership Team (from over the last week):

  • DfE devices for clinically extremely vulnerable children: as clinically extremely vulnerable children have been told to shield, we have reminded schools that they can order devices specifically for them to support these pupils with remote learning. It is also possible for schools to request a device if they have a pupil that lives in a household that has been advised to shield because a family member is clinically extremely vulnerable. Schools can get devices for clinically extremely vulnerable children in any year group, and community/ maintained schools request these via Hertfordshire County Council. Other schools need to request devices directly from the DfE.
  • Cleaning within education settings: As we know regular cleaning plays a vital role in limiting the transmission of COVID-19 and we have reminded schools of the following: Ensure a clear cleaning schedule is in place, both for school staff during the school day and for contracted cleaners; take any further opportunities to reduce clutter and remove difficult to clean items; where it is known a person with symptoms of COVID-19 has been on site, it’s important that any surfaces they may have touched are cleaned and disinfected using disposable cleaning materials.

Read the guidance on cleaning education settings

  • Sharing information across settings about positive cases: Sometimes children and staff from one household may have a connection to another education setting other than your own, either through siblings, as part of a sixth form consortium or because a partner works in education/with children. It is the parent or staff member’s responsibly to update close contacts when they know of a positive test result however, if you know there is a connection outside of your setting please make contact with the senior team and share what you know in confidence. Confirming a positive case with another education provider for this reason is not breaking GDPR as it is in the public health interest to do so and will help to reduce the spread of the virus. 
  • Private testing: You may have been contacted by private companies selling testing services. Just to clarify, these are not connected to the NHS Test and Trace service and so, if you use these there is no mechanism to feed into the national system or process. You will have no support to reach close contacts of positive cases if you use a private testing service so please do consider this carefully before making these arrangements. We also know that the previous issues identified with access to NHS testing have now been resolved and so accessing tests should be quick and simple. 

12 November - guidance given to schools by the Education Leadership Team

12 November, 4.44pm 

Here's a run down of the key topics from the twice-weekly update schools receive from our Education Leadership Team (from over the last 2 weeks):

  • Face covering guidance in schools following national restrictions (5 November - 2 December): The DfE have shared updated guidance for education and childcare settings. Face coverings are now compulsory for both adults and students in shared spaces when moving around the building where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, such as corridors (unless exempt). This is for students in Year’s 7 and above. It remains at the discretion of primary schools, whether they choose to follow this guidance for face coverings for their staff and visitors in the same way.
  • Just Talk Week – 16-22 November: Hertfordshire’s Just Talk Week, which focuses on positive mental health and stories of hope, will be taking place from 16-22 November. It’s more important than ever that we make sure that every young person knows how to look after their mental health and can access support if they need it. To make it as easy as possible for you to get involved, this year’s campaign week is entirely online. Students can access a range of FREE resources,  including a short film, new Five Ways to Wellbeing e-learning, booking information for a range of webinars during Just Talk Week and a design competition for Year 6 - 8 students.
  • Face coverings and travelling to school: By law, young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering on public transport (unless exempt). This law does not apply to dedicated school transport. However, we strongly advise people aged 11 and over to wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college from the start of the autumn term (unless exempt).

Guidance for families and carers of adults (18+) with Down Syndrome

10 November

The government have added adults with Down's Syndrome (aged 18 and over) to their list of people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. This means that adults with Down's Syndrome and their carer's should follow the government guidance for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

This guidance applies to same period as the new national restrictions - from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December. At the end of this period, the government will give further guidance.

If you are an adult with Down's Syndrome:

  • You should not go to your workplace, college or day centre
  • You can still go out to get excercise or go to health appointments
  • If you have a problem with your health you can still get help  - you can access some NHS services from home, including ordering repeat prescriptions or having a telephone or video call with your GP.
  • You should not go out to the shops. If you need help to get shopping there are services you can use. We have listed these below under the 'support' heading.

If you live with, or are a carer for someone with Down's Syndrome:

  • You do not need to shield or self-isolate - just take extra care to folow the national restrictions guidance for the general population, and practice social distancing unless you need to make close or personal contact provide care.
  • If it is not possible for you to work from home, and you are not classified as clinically extremely vulnerable, you can still go to work. 
  • If you need additional support to provide the level of care required, then please contact your named social worker or the local Adult Social Care team. We can complete a carer's assessment and look at support we can offer you and your loved one.


Support with shopping

1. People who are clinically extremely vulnerable, or their carer, can register to a new online service to:

  • Request priority access to supermarket delivery slots (if you have already got priority supermarket deliveries, you’ll keep them).
  • Tell the council if you need support, if it cannot be provided by friends, family or other support networks.
  • Update your details, for example, your address.

You’ll be asked for your NHS number. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription. 

2. If you cannot access food, HertsHelp can look for help in your local area and get someone to come out to you if you are unable to go to the shops or pharmacy yourself. Please call 0300 123 4044 or email

You can use our online form to tell us about someone who needs help too.

Support with mental health

Contact your GP, named social worker or the local adult social care team. You can also contact the Mental Health Helpline on 0800 6444 101, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you or someone you care for is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can access our team of mental health professionals directly via the NHS 111 service. Select Option 2 for mental health services, which will automatically direct you to the 24/7 helpline team.

Mind Network has also launched the Hertfordshire Crisis Helpline - 01923 256391 - which runs 24 hours a day and is available for anyone in Hertfordshire who wants to call to talk things through. 

Support with Social Care

HertsHelp is available for everyone and will give advice and support on things like getting shopping, advice on money, help with using the internet and how to find a support group if you are isolated. Call them on 0300 123 4044 or visit the Hertshelp website.

Contact your named social worker or the local adult social care team for advice and support.

If you need urgent assistance, please call us on 0300 123 4042.



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