Reading time: 3 minutes

The Government has announced plans for UK schools to close on Friday. However, some will stay open to protect the most vulnerable pupils.

The move reverses a decision made on 12 March to keep schools open which had attracted some criticism. Scotland and Wales made the decision to close earlier on Wednesday, with England following suit later in the day.

But prompt the decision for UK schools to close, and what does it mean for summer exams? This blog post explains.

School closures announced

The Prime Minister and Education Secretary announced that schools will close on Friday. However children of key workers, including doctors and nurses, will still be expected to attend school.

Gavin Williamson told the House of Commons:

After schools shut their gates on Friday afternoon, they will remain closed until further notice.

I said before that if the science and advice changed, such that keeping schools open would no longer be in the best interest of children and teachers, that we would act. We are now at that stage.

The spike of the virus is increasing at a faster pace than anticipated and it is crucial that we consider the right measures to arrest that increase and relieve the pressure on the health system.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson added:

We come today to the key issue of schools where we have been consistently advised that there is an important tradeoff. And so far the judgement of our advisors has been that closing schools is actually of limited value in slowing the spread of the epidemic. This is partly because, counter-intuitively, schools are very safe environments, and in this disease children and young people are much less vulnerable.

And hitherto, the advice has been that we should keep schools open if possible in order to reduce pressure on the NHS and on all other public services. I have always been clear this is a balanced judgement and one we have kept under constant review.

You can see the full press conference above.

When are schools to close?

The Prime Minister said that state schools will continue to function until Friday afternoon. He added that he would be urging private schools and nurseries to do the same.

From when the close on Friday, schools will be closed “until further notice”.

What happens now?

School exams will be cancelled. The Government and bodies are working out how to ensure pupils “get the qualifications they deserve and need”. This could mean exams are postponed until a specific time or certificates given based on previous performance.

It poses a problem for a number of year groups. Many Year 10’s run the risk of being thrown into Year 11 in September up to six months behind on their studies. So it is an essential for students as well as the school that education can continue. 

Further, questions remain about what happens to schools operating with skeleton staff to ensure pupil progress is consistent with pupils off-site.

How can EDLounge help?

EDLounge Limited’s online platform means despite the situation facing schools, students and parents – education can continue.

Over 11,000 lessons are available for KS2 to KS4 in crucial subjects. These include revision materials and assessments in English, Maths and Science. Ensuring learning is maintained, means that pupils are not out of their depth in September, if schools resume in the autumn. Essential learning will help prevent boredom for children, and reduce the negative social effects – and potential reduce the costs of childcare.

EDLounge Limited also takes safeguarding as paramount importance. A range of measures ensures children are safeguarding including alert mechanisms, opportunities to live chat to trained staff and eyes-on learning.

For the 2019 Ofsted report click here. EDLounge has helped improve attendance and engagement for disengaged pupils. Click here to read testimonials.

For more information call 01909 568 338.