UK Schools – Latest COVID-19 School Closures Announcements
In new measures to battle coronavirus ahead of the vaccination roll-out, Primary and Secondary Schools in England have now been told to move to remote learning for most pupils until the end of the UK mid-term break in February. The only exceptions to this are for vulnerable children and children of critical workers - who will be able to go to school in person each day. Nurseries and other Early Years settings will remain open as they have done in previous lockdowns. Colleges and universities will also have to teach students remotely until mid-February - except for courses for future critical workers such as medicine and veterinary science. The lockdown will be reviewed in mid-February.
Schools and Colleges in Scotland have also followed suit with these lockdown measures. Schools, Nurseries, and childcare providers will however be able to stay open for children of key workers and vulnerable children only. The planned return to early learning and childcare (ELC) settings has been moved back from 18 January to 1 February at the earliest and we will watch for any further updates.
Welsh schools and colleges will remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable learners, as well as for learners who need to complete essential exams or assessments. There is a plan in place to have children return on the 18th of January. Unlike previous lockdown rules in Wales, the Government here has taken the decision to leave nurseries open.
Schools in Northern Ireland have also just taken the decision to close until mid-February, with nursery, primary and post-primary schools carrying out remote learning until then. However, ministers agreed that special schools will remain open as usual. Vulnerable children and children of key workers will also have access to schools for supervised learning. Childcare settings will be allowed to remain open and childminders can continue their services.
Although the closure of schools as part of this latest lockdown in the UK came suddenly, there is a sense of optimism brought about by our vigorous vaccination program and a hoped-for end date. Once we reach the mid-Feb deadline, a large proportion of the most vulnerable of the UK population (who account for the majority of hospital admissions) will have been vaccinated, and many look forward to a little more normality creeping in as we get past the first quarter of 2021.
Our consultants at Bennett are in regular contact with the best private British and International schools who are doing a great job with their online learning programs and resources. These schools, along with nurseries, are continuing to liaise with us as they would normally on future admissions for families with imminent arrival dates in the next couple of months or looking for places after the summer. School visits during this lockdown are difficult, but virtual tours have made things much easier and in fact, are a great development for the future meaning relocating parents and children can see the schools at a distance ahead of being able to tour in person.
State schools and councils have become a little more challenging to track down as most council workers are working from home without access to up-to-date databases and facilities. We are not sure if this may cause a delay in admissions but for any new arrivals, we would most likely be looking at placements once the schools are back in. Families considering our public schooling must keep in mind that regulations require that they must secure a permanent address before a place a good state school can be secured by us on their behalf.
For families arriving and quarantining or feeling in limbo, do contact us. We will be really happy to point them in the direction of a number of good online learning resources, which may be enough to keep them going until their children can physically start school.
Please take note:
The situation is still very much in flux across the regions of the UK so we advise checking on local conditions before taking any steps.