School Closures What Will Happen Now


School Closures What Will Happen Now

Schools across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are to close on Friday because of the coronavirus epidemic.

What will the impact be?

How long are schools likely to be closed?

The short answer is indefinitely.

Most are effectively closing two weeks before the Easter holidays start, but it is not clear whether they will re-open for the summer term.

England’s Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says schools will be closed “until further notice”.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she cannot guarantee that schools in Scotland will re-open before September.

It will depend to a large extent on the effectiveness of measures to reduce the spread of the outbreak.

Deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries said school closures were necessary to reduce social contact throughout society and hence the spread of the virus.How long could schools be closed?

So will every school be completely closed?

No. Some schools will be kept open with a skeleton staff to provide support for the children of key workers. A list of who this covers is to be released later today, but it is expected to include NHS staff, police and food delivery drivers.

Schools will also be asked to help those most in need – for example, children who receive free school meals and those with special educational needs or education health care plans.

But it is not yet clear which schools will be the ones to provide these services.

Mr Williamson said in England the aim would be to provide support in school for an estimated 10% of pupils.

Teaching unions are supportive of the plans, but say they want to see more details of the plans urgently.

The government says it’s also asking nurseries and private schools to close, and will provide financial support if needed.

What will happen about exams?

In England and in Wales, all exams in May and June have been cancelled, including GCSEs and A-levels as well as England’s primary school national curriculum tests, known as Sats.

Mr Williamson told the Commons on Wednesday: “I can confirm we will not go ahead with assessments or exams and that we will not be publishing performance tables for this academic year.

“We will work with the sector and [the exams watchdog] Ofqual to ensure children get the qualifications that they need.”

More details will be released on England’s plans on Friday.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will announce a decision on exams in the days to come.

How will children be assessed instead?

Exams watchdogs have been working together for some time to look at alternative arrangements.

These may include:

It is likely the exam boards and individual exams regulators across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will agree a uniform system to ensure comparability.

With regard to offers of university places, Universities UK – the vice-chancellors’ organisation – suggested universities may honour the offers already made on the basis of predicted grades.

What does this mean for parents?

For many working parents, the closures will mean huge childcare issues (this was one of the reasons why the government delayed closures as long as possible).

Some may need to take time off work, raising concerns that some families will struggle financially.

School Closures What Will Happen Now


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