England

Adhering to relevant government advice

Page last updated 5 November 2020

*Temporary lockdowns*

From 5 November to 2 December England is under nationwide lockdown, which includes the closure of theatres, museums and galleries and suspension of the rule of six. Schools remain open and travel for work or education is permitted.

Support groups that are ‘essential to deliver in person’ can continue with up to 15 participants where ‘formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support.’

The Department for Education confirmed on the 5 November arts activities in schools, delivered by an external artist or educator can carry on: ‘Music, dance and drama can be undertaken in school so long as safety precautions are undertaken. Advice is provided in the full opening guidance for schools.’

The same 5 November advice states:

‘Schools are able to work with external coaches, clubs and organisations for curricular activities where they are satisfied that it is safe to do so. Where schools are offering extra-curricular activities (that is, before and after school clubs) they should only do so where it is reasonably necessary to support parents to work, search for work, or undertake training or education, or where the provision is being used for the purposes of respite care.’

The current plan is that the below tiers of local restrictions and other guidance below will come back into force from 3 December.

Local restrictions tiers

England has introduced three levels of local restrictions depending on the number of Covid infections. The levels are medium, high or very high and are also know as Tier 1 (medium) Tier 2 (high) and Tier 3 (very high). Social distancing should be practiced between different households regardless of any other requirements.

Medium – Tier 1High – Tier 2Very high – Tier 3
Covid secure venuesVenues following Covid-secure guidance can host more people in total, but no one must mix indoors in groups larger than 6Venues following Covid-secure guidance can host more people in total, but no one must mix indoors with anyone who they do not live with or anyone outside of a support bubbleVenues following Covid-secure guidance can host more people in total, but no one must mix indoors or in most public outdoor venues with anyone who they do not live with or anyone outside of a support bubble
Rule of six indoorsAllowedNoNo
Rule of six outdoorsAllowedAllowedOnly in some spaces: parks, outdoor sports
Schools openYesYesYes
Support groups of up to 15 participantsAllowedAllowedAllowed

Tier levels: groups larger than six allowed?

Across all the tier levels groups of larger than six are allowed for ‘work, volunteering to provide voluntary or charitable services, registered childcare, education or training, supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups, outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport and licensed outdoor physical activity’.

‘Supervised activities, training and education for children can continue to operate at all alert levels both inside and outdoors.’ From Out-of-school settings guidance.

Travel between tier areas?

Travel between tier areas is not advised, but ‘You can continue to travel into or out of very high alert level areas if you need to for work, education, to access youth services ‘

However, the Department for Education guidance states:

‘Where providers operate in an area that has a ‘very high’ alert level, they should not travel outside this area for the purpose of an education visit. Providers should also not travel into an area with a ‘very high’ alert level for the purpose of educational visits.’ From Educational Visits & Trips, Out-of-school settings guidance.

Rule of six

NOTE: suspended until 3 December

As of 22 September 2020 social interactions must be limited to a group of no more six people from different households (indoors and out). Children are counted in the group of six.

In England businesses and venues following Covid Secure guidelines can host multiple groups of six, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission in line with Covid Secure guidance and including completion of a Risk Assessment.

No one should visit a venue in a group of greater than six unless they are in the same bubble e.g. a school class. 

Support groups of up to 15 people, plus any staff, can continue to meet.

‘Support groups that are essential to deliver in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support.’

Performances

NOTE: suspended until 3 December

Live indoor and outdoor performances in front of a socially-distanced audience are allowed. Audiences should continue to socially distance from anyone not in their household or bubble.

  • In Medium alert areas venues need to ensure that the social groups of up to six in the audience are kept separate from one another to ensure they do not mix.
  • In High alert areas venues need to ensure indoors audiences are kept separate from and do not mix with anyone not in their household or bubble.
  • In Very High alert areas venues need to ensure indoors and outdoors audiences are kept separate from and do not mix anyone not in their household or bubble.

10pm closing: temporary restrictions on theatres’ opening hours

From 24 September, temporary restrictions have been placed on the operating hours of businesses selling food or drink in England. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls will normally have to close at 10pm. It has been confirmed venues will be permitted to stay open to finish a show or performance that started before 10pm.

Government guidance for working with schools and children

Schools are working under a different set of Tiers from 1 to 4 and each upper tier local authority (UTLA)  will make decisions about what tier local schools should be in.

Tier 1

Primary schools open as usual. Face mask Year 7 and above when moving around school

Tier 2

Primary Schools open as usual. Face mask Year 7 and above when moving around schools, secondary schools move to rota model combining on-site provision with remote education, except for vulnerable children and children of critical workers who attend full time.

Tier 3

Primary schools open as usual. Face mask Year 7 and above when moving around school, Secondary schools  allow full-time on-site provision only to vulnerable children, the children of critical workers and selected year groups. Other secondary pupils should not attend on site. Remote education to be provided for all other pupils.

Tier 4

All nurseries, childminders, mainstream schools, colleges and other educational establishments allow full-time attendance on site only to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other pupils should not attend on site. Remote education to be provided for all other pupils.

Peripatetic teachers

Many colleagues already regularly deliver arts and cultural activities in schools and could be defined as peripatetic teachers. For some venue based colleagues who do not already deliver outreach services in schools this could be an area to consider for delivery in the coming months. Department for Education guidance explicitly states this is allowed.

Guidance for schools in England from the Department for Education (DfE) last updated on 17 September states:

  • ‘Supply teachers, peripatetic teachers and other temporary staff can move between schools. They should ensure they minimise contact and maintain as much distance as possible from other staff.’
  • In the autumn term, schools can resume non-overnight domestic educational visits. The DfE guidance says ‘This should be done in line with protective measures, such as keeping children within their consistent group, and the Covid-secure measures in place at the destination.’

It also states that Primary age children are expected to work in whole class bubbles and Secondary age children may need to work in year group bubbles.

You should consider how you can ensure social distancing, of ideally two metres, between your staff and freelancers and any school bubbles that visit your site. 

Guidance for out-of-school-settings

Guidance for out-of-school settings, which has been updated to include educational visits as well as holiday and out of school clubs, published by the Department for Education states:

  • Supervised activities, training and education for children can continue to operate at all alert levels both inside and outdoors at medium, high and very high alert levels.
  • Children and young people who attend your setting should be kept in small, consistent groups, and of no more than 15 children and at least one staff member.
  • If you are operating provision for multiple small groups of children throughout the day, you should allow sufficient changeover time between different classes for cleaning to take place and to prevent children and parents or carers waiting in large groups.

The guidance is clear that if you are running provision that mixes children from different school bubbles, and are unable to keep children in small consistent groups of 15 or fewer you should follow government guidelines on the Phased return of sport and recreation in England, which allow up to six people from different households to meet outdoors, and keep children in groups of no more than six, including staff members. These groups of six need to follow social distancing guidelines. If the you are working in a High or Very High alert tier area there are additional rules in place, see the table above.

The guidance for children and adults differs as a result of the reduced risk to children compared to adults of Covid-19.

Face coverings

Face coverings are ‘not required during out-of-school provision as children and staff are mixing in consistent groups’, however any rules about face coverings in public places will apply; if children aged 11 and over need to wear face coverings when moving around your venue then this will apply to educational visit groups or clubs.

Additionally when an area moves to local COVID alert level high or very high, face coverings should be worn by adults and children aged 11 and above when moving around venues.

Government guidance for activities with participants

Guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for performing arts organisations provides information on activities for ‘Non-professionals (meaning those participating in performing arts other than for work purposes), or groups which include non-professionals’, and states:

  • Social interactions should be limited to a group of no more six people from different households (see above on the rule of six, and local restrictions – tiers table for rules in High and Very High areas).
  • There are now no set limits on the number of people who can be involved in events taking place outside at a Covid-secure venue which has an appropriate risk assessment and measures in place including social distancing. In a Very High alert area you need to ensure there is no mixing between households or support bubbles.

For participatory activities the DCMS Performing Arts guidance updated on the 30 September confirms:

‘in a COVID-19 Secure venue or public outdoor place, non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between separate and distinct groups of no more than 6 at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than six (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising), then such non-professional activity should not take place.’

You should follow the Local Covid Alert Level rules for your area on group size. If you are in a High or Very High alert area the rule of six may be suspended indoors or indoors and outdoors. See the table above for details.