UPDATE: Please click here to read my statement on the issue of schools reopening in June.
The Government has announced the closure of schools across the UK from Friday 20th March 2020 until further notice. This includes schools, colleges and early years settings.
The Government has published the full list of key workers to include those employed in: health and social care, education and childcare, key public services (including government services), food and necessary goods, public safety, transport and utilites. Wherever possible, children should not attend school.
Schooling will continue for children:
- of key workers
- with health or learning needs (those with Education, Health and Care Plans - EHCPs)
- that are vulnerable or with safeguarding or welfare needs, including those assigned with social workers, disabled children, 'looked after' children and young carers
If your school is closed then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.
It is important to note that the scientific evidence shows that schools remain safe settings for any children continuing to attend. Registered early years providers such as private schools and childminders will also be expected to close and will receive financial help.
Schools will receive help to continue offering Free School Meals to those eligible.
All schools have indefinitely postponed public exams including GCSEs and A-Levels and will not have Ofsted inspections. The Government is in discussions with relevant exam boards to ensure children are awarded qualifications fairly and their futures are protected. Qualifications will be awarded based on calculated grades, taking into account teacher input, target grades and mock exam performance. Further information on exam qualifications has been published by the Government here.
These measures are designed to help suppress the infection whilst allowing people in critical services to continue to work and protecting the vulnerable. Children should not be left in the care of grandparents, the elderly or those deemed at risk. The Secretary of State for Education's full statement can be read here.