Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): early learning and childcare (ELC) services

Non-statutory guidance to support the continued safe operation of ELC settings.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): early learning and childcare (ELC) services
Singing, music and drama

Singing, music and drama

Advice from the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues shows that there are increased transmission risks associated with music and drama activities.

The Sub-Group had specifically considered the question of singing in ELC settings and concluded that singing should not happen indoors as an organised, large group activity.  However, the Sub-Group recognised that children sing naturally in the course of activities and play, and should not be discouraged from doing so, and that singing can also be used to comfort young children when necessary. 

The sub-group has now reconsidered its advice in the light of the ongoing success of the vaccination programme, and the importance of singing for the health and wellbeing of children well as their social, physical and cognitive development.

At level 4, the sub-group’s advice is as above – that singing should not happen indoors as an organised, large group activity. Some settings have allowed this outdoors and where that is the case this should be take place with as many appropriate mitigations as possible (at low volume; for short periods of time; in small groups; and with greater physical distancing). As before, children need not be discouraged from singing naturally in the course of activities and play and singing can also be used to comfort young children when necessary.

At levels 3, 2 and 1, singing outdoors and indoors is permitted for children in ELC settings, as long as careful attention is paid to ensuring effective and adequate ventilation and subject to risk assessment and other risk mitigation measures being implemented. Other risk mitigations include singing: outdoors or indoors in large, well ventilated spaces; at low volume; for short periods of time; in small groups; and with greater physical distancing between adults.

At level 0 singing outdoors and indoors is permitted for children in ELC settings.

Level 0

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4/Stay local

Singing indoors and outdoors is permitted

At levels 3, 2 and 1, singing outdoors and indoors is permitted for children and adults in ELC settings, as long as careful attention is paid to ensuring effective and adequate ventilation and subject to risk assessment and other risk mitigation measures being implemented. Other risk mitigations include singing: outdoors or indoors in large, well ventilated spaces; at low volume; for short periods of time; in small groups; and with greater physical distancing between adults (even beyond the minimum 2 metres).

Singing should not happen indoors as an organised large group activity.

At any protection level, children need not be discouraged from singing naturally in the course of activities and play and singing can also be used to comfort young children when necessary.

Lead-in time for adapting to change in protection level: as soon as the protection level increases


First published: 5 Mar 2021 Last updated: 21 Jul 2021 -