back to blogs

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

About 11 months 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.

This Teaching Assistant CV will help you land your next job
23 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

This Example Teaching Assistant CV Will Help You Land Your Next Job

Download example teaching assistant CV here​When it comes to job hunting, a great CV is your best friend. With just...

Read More
The Top Traits of an Effective SEN Teacher
16 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

The Top Traits of an Effective SEN Teacher

​Effective Special Educational Needs teachers are a special type of person. You will be teaching and supporting some of society’s...

Read More
Microsoft Teams Image (28)
12 May 22, by Scott Owen

Protocol Education's Educator Festival

​Come to our Educator Festival! This term, Protocol Education is holding an Educator Festival, a series of events that will...

Read More
How Teachers Can Manage and Reduce their Workload
10 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

How Teachers Can Manage and Reduce their Workload

​As every educator finds out in their own time, teaching can be exhausting. A teacher’s to-do list is rarely complete,...

Read More
I Stock 181086033 Min
04 May 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

What Is the Average Salary For A UK Teacher?

​Are you about to make a whole new move into the world of education? Or perhaps you’re currently working as...

Read More
I Stock 1297509194 Min
25 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

Adapting Your School’s Catch Up Tuition Programme For The Summer Holidays

​The summer term is upon us, and with it comes the final stage of this academic year’s edition of the...

Read More
I Stock 1007214476 Min
20 Apr 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

4 Behaviour Management Strategies Every Teacher Should Know

​Remember your first day as a teacher. Was it the curriculum material itself that seemed most daunting? Or was it...

Read More
Tutor Working With Middle School Student Picture Id1130407049 (1) Min
19 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

The NTP’s Funding Model is About to Change: Here’s Why That Matters For Your School

​The Education Secretary has announced a major overhaul of the funding structure for its flagship catch up tuition scheme, the...

Read More
I Stock 679417234 Min
12 Apr 22, by Eloise Gladwyn

How To Gain Experience as a Teaching Assistant

​Do you love spending time helping children succeed? Do you feel an abiding passion for education and learning but don’t...

Read More
Protocol Education Win Investors in People Silver Award for Strong Culture of Professional Support
11 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

Protocol Education Win Investors in People Silver Award for Strong Culture of Professional Support

​Protocol Education is proud to announce that we have been awarded Investors in People’s Silver ‘We invest in people’ award....

Read More
I Stock 1387531789 (2)
04 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

Join Us at our Easter Educator Events

Over the Easter holiday, we're running a series of in-person and online events for our educators in our network of...

Read More
Summer wellbeing tips for teachers: 5 ways for healthy and happy holidays
04 Apr 22, by Ruth Bell

Easter 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
I Stock 1267280072 Min
01 Apr 22, by Alex Schulte

The Big Changes You Need to Know from the DfE's SEND Review Green Paper

This week, the Department for Education released their long-awaited SEND and alternative provision Green Paper. Titled ‘Right support, right place,...

Read More
Inclusive practice in a classroom: a teacher helps a boy with Downs syndrome use a microscope
28 Mar 22, by Alex Schulte

How Supply Teachers Can Use Inclusive Practice to Make Lessons More Accessible

​Today marks the start of World Autism Acceptance Week. Educators and school leaders alike should use the next seven days...

Read More
How to Plan for your First Term as an Early Career Teacher
21 Mar 22, by Alex Schulte

How to Plan for your First Term as an Early Career Teacher

Your ECT induction period is your chance to get to grips with the world of teaching. You have two whole...

Read More