All schools in England will reopen at the start of the new academic year in September, the government confirmed today. Finalising details that were discussed earlier in the week.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced today a firm intention to re-open all schools in September if infection rates continue to fall and so long as local lockdown restrictions are not place.
Here are the main points from today's Department for Education press release:
• Current restrictions on group sizes lifted
• Children will be in larger 'bubbles' based on class or year group – no maximum number set down
• Covid-19 secure measures remain in place including cleaning UP and corridor use DOWN
• Exams WILL go ahead in 2021. Exams regulator consulting on arrangements including delaying exams by a few weeks
• Teachers to distance from each other and older students, wherever possible
• Individual schools may have to close if two or more pupils test positive for Covid-19
• Schools will need to comply with local lockdowns if and when they are applied
• Nurseries and early years settings can welcome larger groups again from 20 July
Nick Gibb, Minister of State For School Standards also confirmed today in this interview that the the government has "issued guidance [to prevent risks of Covid infection] from staggered timetables to separating year groups, but we trust teachers to interpret this in a way that best suits the needs of their schools and their pupils."
"Returning to normal educational routines as quickly as possible will be critical to our national recovery. It is also critical for the hopes and aspirations of a generation of young people. They are depending on us to get their education back on track"
Nick Gibb, Minister of State For School Standards
Gibb said schools would be asked to follow wider government guidelines on playing sport and music, and said there "will inevitably be an impact on what schools can teach in these areas."
Virtual lessons will remain and schools have been asked to continue to build their capacity to deliver remote education, so it is of a high quality and mirrors as closely as possible a pupil’s experience of being in school. He said:
"Even when schools return in the autumn, there may be times when some pupils are not able to attend school, for example if they are isolating. So we need to be sure that they can continue their studies remotely if they need to.
To help with this, we have funded Oak National Academy to keep its virtual doors open for the next academic year. They are introducing much more flexibility into their lessons to fit with individual schools’ teaching patterns."