Schools and learning

Schools and colleges across Southampton were delighted to welcome all pupils back at the start of the academic year in September 2020.

Please see below for more information, including links to government guidance, and information about attending school with cold symptoms and when your child might need a coronavirus test.


Free School Meals: help and support available over the school holidays HIDE

Last updated: 26 October 2020

No child in Southampton should go hungry. Southampton City Council and a range of businesses, charities, food-banks and schools are stepping up to support any family who needs it over the October half-term.

Anyone who needs help can call the council’s COVID-19 resident’s helpline (023 8083 4800), which is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm for support and information. We are offering food vouchers to anyone who needs them, and can make referrals to food banks and other sources of support as needed.

Visit the Testlands Support Project website for a list of the businesses and others who are offering to support families in Southampton over the school holidays.

This is in addition to the fantastic work being done by schools across the city, as well as a number of community organisations such as City Catering and FareShare who have come together to help ensure that no child goes hungry over the school holidays.


Does my child need a coronavirus test and should they stay off school? HIDE

Last updated: 24 September 2020

When should children get tested for coronavirus?

Children can get coronavirus (COVID-19) but the majority of children have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever and cough.

If your child has ANY of the coronavirus symptoms below, please book them a test via the NHS website and do not send them into school.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature, OR
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours, OR
  • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

What about other colds and other symptoms?

Parents only need to get a test for their child if the child has ANY of the coronavirus symptoms or has been asked to get tested. This will help make sure people who need a test can get one.

If your child DOES NOT have symptoms of COVID-19 but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose or sneezing, they do not need to be tested and they or members of your household do not need to self-isolate. Your child can attend school if fit to do so.

If you need more advice

Parents should get advice from NHS 111 if they are worried about their child or not sure what to do.


Statement from Cabinet Member for Children and Learning on schools opening HIDE

Last updated: 2 September 2020

“Schools across Southampton have been hard at work over the summer and are eager to welcome all pupils back for the start of the new academic year.

“There is no substitute for a normal routine at school and there is now a wide consensus cutting across government, education and healthcare that returning to schools is important for young people’s academic and personal development.

“All Southampton education settings, supported by the council and in liaison with Public Health England, have been putting in place measures to ensure that teaching can continue while also minimising the risks posed by the virus. No two schools are the same which is why schools have been determining the right mix of measures for their setting. These may differ from school to school and could include, for example, placing children in distinct ‘bubbles’ to be maintained throughout the day, staggering start, end and break times, or providing hand sanitiser throughout the school building.

“In addition, following a meeting of leaders of secondary schools and sixth form and FE colleges, it has been agreed that all pupils and staff in these institutions will be expected to wear face coverings while on site when not in lessons. This will not apply to those who are not able to wear coverings due to their individual circumstances.”

“Schools have been in contact with pupils and their families and I am grateful for their efforts to ensure that everyone understands the changes to their school or college experience for the foreseeable future.

“Schools are doing all they can – and it’s up to all of us to do what we can to ensure that we continue to minimise the risks associated with the virus. This includes continuing to follow government guidance including around social distancing, post-holiday quarantining and abiding by Test and Trace.

“I’d like to once again thank everyone – from parents and carers to teachers and support staff – who stepped up during the Coronavirus pandemic to help children continue their learning journey. Finally, I’d like to wish all school pupils the very best of luck as they embark on a new school years after such a long period of disruption. We’re delighted to have you back!”


Current national guidance HIDE

Last updated: 2 September 2020

You can visit the government website if you wish to refer to the latest guidance regarding education and childcare for school staff, parents, carers and students.