DfE guidance on national mourning for education

The government has produced guidance for education settings for the period before the funeral of the Queen.

David Kernohan is Deputy Editor of Wonkhe

As DfE – along with most of the rest of government – has foresworn publication and press releases it is quite difficult to find out what it is actually up to.

We’ve only just come across it, but at some point in the last few days a guide to national mourning for the education sector emerged from the department.

In all honesty, it doesn’t do much that we couldn’t otherwise have guessed. The default presumption is that people don’t miss out on education before the funeral, but there is a bank holiday on the Monday itself.

For higher education settings – providers (as “autonomous institutions”) get to make decisions. There’s no government expectation that any part of the sector (including university libraries and museums) must close unless the provider decides it should – and although universities “may wish” to cancel debates and other events this also remains at their discretion.

We get a reminder that central London might get busy, with a pointer to chat to the local council and police about this.

For the day of the funeral itself – a bank holiday – there’s a reminder about legal obligations (without any indication as to what these obligations may be) and a reminder about the need to communicate decisions to students. Sporting fixtures may go ahead on the day, at the discretion of organisers – who may wish to take the main National Mourning Guidance into consideration when making these decisions.

There’s nothing about regulatory requirements and deadlines, and nothing about whether OfS investigations could kick off before the funeral (we’d wager not, as half the point of these is the press release from OfS).

It’s all very hands off – compare, for example, the FE sector, which sees detailed guidance on planning student gatherings and events and some evidence of thinking about visits and work placements. Mind you, a college might get an Ofsted inspection this week!

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