back to blogs

As School Coronavirus Bubbles End, Here's Everything Your Staff Need To Know

About 22 days ago By Alex Schulte

As School Coronavirus Bubbles End, Here's Everything Your Staff Need To Know

By late June, rules around ‘bubbles’ in schools to prevent the spread of coronavirus meant that over 5% of English pupils were out of school at any one time. Yet fewer than 1% of pupils had actually tested positive.

As part of a wholesale easing of restrictions, the government is axing the school bubble system from 19 July. This will mean that the next academic year will look a lot more like normal than the preceding two. Pupils will only be required to self-isolate if they produce a positive test, rather than if someone in their bubble has caught Covid.

However, that sense of normality will only be partial for the foreseeable future. While cases are on the rise, school leaders will still have to contend with absences among faculty and students. Adapting to this all might be a challenge. Here is what school leaders and teaching staff will need to know about the end of Covid bubbles in schools.

1. Bubbles will end before the summer holidays

The bubble system comes to a close on 19 July, alongside most of England’s remaining coronavirus restrictions. This means that the final week of term will be a snap adjustment for the majority of schools.

The immediate effects of this are tempered by the fact that current isolation rules will continue until 16 August. However, class sizes will return to their pre-pandemic sizes, and assemblies will be allowed to resume. School leaders need to make sure they have sufficient staff numbers in place.

Given current high levels of transmission of the Delta variant, it is important that schools have contingency plans for swiftly dealing with unexpected staff absences.

2. Tracing cases will no longer be headteachers’ responsibility

From September to May of this academic year, headteachers have put in an average of 44 hours extra work getting in touch with the close contacts of children testing positive for Coronavirus.

From 19 July, this burden will be lifted. Responsibility for identifying and isolating contacts will be put in the hands of NHS Track and Trace.

3. On-site testing is returning

The DfE is recommending that all secondary school pupils take two lateral flow tests, three-to-five days apart, on the week of their return to school in September.

To ensure this can happen, schools are being urged to provide on-site testing facilities using equipment supplied by the government. School leaders need to be confident that their staff have the right training to help pupils conduct these tests.

4. Schools may decide on their own guidance

While social distancing and face masks will no longer be mandated from 19 July, the government is urging people to proceed past that date with ‘caution’. This emphasis on personal responsibility and vigilance could be instructive for how senior leadership teams choose to handle the post-bubble world.

Schools might consider issuing their own guidelines for Covid-safe behaviour on the premises. Any such guidance should be written up in consultation and collaboration with parents and pupils. All staff should be made aware of guidance, and able to relay it accurately and clearly.

5. Vulnerable staff may need extra support

The end of the bubble system is a great source of relief for many teachers. Yet for others, the sweeping away of our current methods of virus control will undoubtedly evoke anxiety.

Some of your staff may be considered Clinically Vulnerable (CV) or Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to the coronavirus. While members of these groups are no longer required to shield, it is possible that they would appreciate arrangements being made for them to reduce their face-to-face contact during periods of high viral prevalence.

Other staff may not qualify for these categories but still feel a worrisome level of exposure and personal risk. They need to be able to rely on a robust HR department and a consultative, responsive approach from senior leaders.

Having access to an auxiliary pool of flexible educators will make it easier for school leaders to support their staff’s mental health while safely delivering quality, face-to-face teaching to pupils.

6. Bubbles may return in local areas

The DfE have urged school leaders to plan around the fact that bubbles may be re-imposed in particular geographic areas for temporary periods of time to deal with localised outbreaks.

This step into a new stage of pandemic management will make life easier for many teachers and parents. Yet the end of the bubble system presents its own challenges and uncertainties.

Schools clearly will have to be more adaptive than they would be during business as usual. It’s very important to open up dialogues with staff and parents about how you proceed from here. It is also crucial that you have the manpower on hand and in reserve to cover all eventualities.

At Protocol Education, we help thousands of schools find excellent candidates for a variety of roles, both permanent and supply. We can provide your school with talented educators at short notice to cover for absences, or even to fill permanent roles and add value to your institution throughout the rest of the pandemic and beyond.

To find your next star teacher or teaching assistant, get in touch with your local education recruitment specialists.

Untitled Design (16)
19 Jul 21, by Scott

Our Educator Webinars

​Please find details of our upcoming and past webinars for educators below. Our educator webinars series cover a wide range...

Read More
One to one tutoring in-class with National Tutoring Programme tuition sessions
19 Jul 21, by Scott Owen

​How to Become a National Tutoring Programme Tutor (and Why You Should)

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) has proved to be a successful and popular response to the impact of lockdown on...

Read More
4 Effective Ways To Use Your Recovery Premium To Close The Attainment Gap
15 Jul 21, by Alex Schulte

4 Effective Ways To Use Your Recovery Premium To Close The Attainment Gap

​In February, the government allocated a £302 million Recovery Premium to English primary and secondary schools, building on the current...

Read More
As School Coronavirus Bubbles End, Here's Everything Your Staff Need To Know
13 Jul 21, by Alex Schulte

As School Coronavirus Bubbles End, Here's Everything Your Staff Need To Know

​By late June, rules around ‘bubbles’ in schools to prevent the spread of coronavirus meant that over 5% of English...

Read More
Summer wellbeing tips for teachers: 5 ways for healthy and happy holidays
02 Jul 21, by Ruth Bell

Summer Wellbeing Tips for Teachers: 6 Ways for Healthy and Happy Holidays

Just like everyone, teachers need to relax and recuperate. Whether we call it switching off, relaxing or resting, taking time...

Read More
One to one tuition and heavily subsidised small group tuition via the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) this summer from Protocol Education
28 Jun 21, by Scott Owen

The National Tutoring Programme & Protocol Education

​Since the launch of the National Tutoring Programme in November 2020, Protocol Education has successfully delivered heavily subsidised one-to-one and...

Read More
Recruitment Consultant Jobs in Bristol and West Midlands
25 Jun 21, by Scott Owen

Considering a Career in Recruitment? Opportunities in Bristol and the West Midlands

Have you ever considered a career in recruitment? ​If so, we are looking for people to join our fast-growing Bristol...

Read More
How Cpd Training Can Grow Your Teaching Career Options And Open Up New Opportunities
21 Jun 21, by Alex Schulte

How CPD Training Can Grow Your Teaching Career Options and Open Up New Opportunities

Anyone who remembers a Teacher Training Day giving you a day off school as a child is already familiar with...

Read More
I Stock 1061499342 Min
15 Jun 21, by Alex Schulte

Meet the Team Finding Jobs for Lincoln Teachers at Protocol Education’s Newest Branch

​As one of the UK’s leading educational recruitment agencies, Protocol Education operates dozens of branches in towns and cities across...

Read More
I Stock 544356240
08 Jun 21, by Alex Schulte

4 Ways To Overcome Burnout And Become A More Effective, Happy Teacher

Burnout and stress have become frighteningly common among teachers, blighting what ought to be one of the most rewarding career...

Read More
Pe Website Blog Arriving 1155x575
19 May 21,by

The Supply Teachers’ Essential Tool Kit

Whether you are new to supply or just getting back into the swing of things after the school closures, having...

Read More
Pe Website Blog Generic 1155x575 01d
17 May 21,by

5 Practical Ways to Promote Wellbeing and Good Mental Health in your Classroom

As we begin the return to school after covid-19, it’s a good time to think carefully about what can be...

Read More
28 Apr 21, by Scott Owen

How to use catch-up and recovery funding effectively

​The impact of the pandemic on education is still being measured, understood, and assessed. What is clear is that it...

Read More
27 Apr 21,by

​One-to-One and Small Group Tuition: Adopt the Strategies that Really Work

 One-to-one and small group tuition can be extremely effective areas of additional support for students. Dedicated time on learning core...

Read More
Sebastien Marchand D1h Fw0z Ea Ks Unsplash
23 Apr 21, by Scott Owen

Your May Payroll

​The Bank Holidays are quickly approaching. The Protocol Education Payroll team wants to make sure that you are paid on...

Read More