Statutory obligations and expectations

This page provides information on current remote education obligations and expectations.


Remote education expectations and duties

Attendance is mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age. Schools subject to the remote education temporary continuity direction are required to provide remote education to pupils covered by the direction where their attendance would be contrary to government guidance or legislation around COVID-19. This includes, for example, where such guidance means that a class, group or a small number of pupils need to self-isolate. All such pupils not physically unwell should have access to remote education as soon as reasonably practicable, which may be the next school day.

Independent Schools (not including academies) are only covered by the remote education temporary continuity direction in relation to state-funded pupils in their schools. However, they are still expected to meet the Independent School Standards in full at all times.

From September 2021, we continue to expect schools to provide remote education for pupils whose attendance would be contrary to government guidance or legislation around Covid-19. Schools should therefore maintain their capabilities to deliver high quality remote education for next academic year.

Where needed, the remote education provided should be equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school and should include recorded or live direct teaching time, as well as time for pupils to complete tasks and assignments independently. As a minimum you should provide:

  • Key Stage 1: 3 hours a day on average across the cohort, with less for younger children
  • Key Stage 2: 4 hours a day
  • Key Stages 3 and 4: 5 hours a day

Online video lessons do not necessarily need to be recorded by teaching staff at the school. High quality lessons developed by external providers can be provided in lieu of school led video content.

In developing remote education, we expect you to:

  • teach a planned and well-sequenced curriculum so that knowledge and skills are built incrementally
  • have a good level of clarity about what is intended to be taught and practised in each subject so that pupils can progress through the school’s curriculum
  • select a digital platform for remote education provision that will be used consistently across the school in order to allow interaction, assessment and feedback and make sure staff are trained and confident in its use. If schools do not have an education platform in place, they can access free support at get help with technology
  • overcome barriers to digital access for pupils by, for example:
    • distributing school-owned laptops accompanied by a user agreement or contract
    • securing appropriate internet connectivity solutions
    • providing printed resources, such as textbooks and workbooks, to structure learning, supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils on track or answer questions about work
  • have systems for checking, daily, whether pupils are engaging with their work, and work with families to rapidly identify effective solutions where engagement is a concern
  • identify a named senior leader with overarching responsibility for the quality and delivery of remote education, including that provision meets expectations for remote education

When teaching pupils remotely we expect schools to:

  • set meaningful and ambitious work each day in an appropriate range of subjects
  • consider how to transfer into remote education what we already know about effective teaching in the live classroom by, for example:
    • providing frequent, clear explanations of new content, delivered by a teacher or through high-quality curriculum resources
    • providing opportunities for interactivity, including questioning, eliciting and reflective discussion
    • providing scaffolded practice and opportunities to apply new knowledge
    • enabling pupils to receive timely and frequent feedback on how to progress, using digitally-facilitated or whole-class feedback where appropriate
    • using assessment to ensure teaching is responsive to pupils’ needs and addresses any critical gaps in pupils’ knowledge
    • avoiding an over-reliance on long-term projects or internet research activities

We expect you to consider these expectations in relation to the pupils’ age, stage of development or special educational needs, for example where this would place significant demands on parents’ help or support.

We continue to expect schools to publish information about their remote education provision on their websites and this should be kept up to date. An optional template is available to support schools in doing this.

Younger children in Key Stage 1 or Reception often require high levels of parental involvement to support their engagement with remote education, which makes digital provision a particular challenge for this age group. We, therefore, do not expect that solely digital means will be used to teach these pupils remotely.

If pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) are not able to be in school their teachers are best placed to know how the pupil’s needs can be most effectively met to ensure they continue to make progress.

We recognise that some pupils with SEND may not be able to access remote education without adult support and so expect schools to work with families to deliver an ambitious curriculum appropriate for their level of need.

The requirement for schools within the 2014 Children and Families Act to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the pupils’ special educational needs remains in place.

You should work collaboratively with families and put in place reasonable adjustments so that pupils with SEND can successfully access remote education. In this situation, decisions on how provision can be delivered should be informed by relevant considerations including the types of services that the pupil can access remotely.

You can access further information on supporting pupils and students with SEND to access remote education.

Getting help to deliver remote education

Get help with remote education provides information for teachers and leaders, signposting the support package available. We have also published a review your remote education provision tool , to support school leaders in reviewing and self-assessing their current remote education offer.

Peer-to-peer advice and training is available through the EdTech Demonstrator programme .

You can find information about devices and connectivity provided by DfE and access support to get set up with a digital platform at Get help with technology.

Delivering remote education safely

Keeping children safe online is essential. The statutory guidance keeping children safe in education provides the information on what you should be doing to protect your pupils online. The guidance includes a collection of resources which includes support for:

  • safe remote education
  • virtual lessons
  • live streaming
  • information to share with parents and carers to support them in keeping their children safe online

Safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19) provides guidance to help schools and teachers support pupils’ remote education during COVID-19.

For schools delivering their remote education through live and recorded lessons, the following support is available through third-party resources:

Recording in the attendance register

Schools must continue to complete the attendance register for pupils who are receiving remote education.

Read the addendum on recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) for further information. Where there is a different reason for absence, read the school attendance guidance .

Schools should keep a record of, and monitor pupils’ and students’ engagement with remote education, but this does not need to be tracked in the attendance register.

Expectations for schools

Where restrictions are put in place to contain local outbreaks or pupils and students are required to self-isolate, remote provision can be extended to meet pupils’ and students’ needs. Schools should have contingency plans in place to move quickly to blended or, if necessary, remote education should the need arise. The schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance sets out what's expected for remote provision.

Further education

Expectations for further education

Where restrictions are put in place to contain local outbreaks or pupils and students are required to self-isolate, remote provision can be extended to meet pupils’ and students’ needs. FE colleges should have contingency plans in place to move quickly to blended or, if necessary, remote education should the need arise. The Further education coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance sets out what’s expected for remote provision.