School and childcare updates: Coronavirus

Updated – 11 January 2021

On 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced that, as part of the national lockdown, that:

  • Nurseries, including those attached to schools, pre-school provision and early year settings currently remain open for all children;
  • Primary and secondary schools and colleges will only be open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.  All other school aged children will learn remotely until February half term; and
  • Higher Education will remain online only until mid-February except for courses for future critical workers.

These are the details of the government announcement regarding schools and childcare.

The government issued updated guidance on 8 January 2021 to clarify that critical workers should keep their children at home if possible.

The guidance states: "Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required, but parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can."

We are working with schools to ensure that families are supported and pupils can continue their learning.


Public health advice is that everyone should be working from home where they can, including critical workers, and children should also be learning at home where possible.

We are asking everyone who does not have to physically attend work, including critical workers, to keep your children at home in order to reduce social contact and supress the spread of the virus.

Free school meals will continue to be provided to all children who are eligible.

We are also working with headteachers in secondary schools to develop testing arrangements, in line with government guidance.

The government has announced changes to arrangements for GCSE and A-level exams that were due to take place in the summer, with teacher assessments being used to determine grades instead of formal exams. Year Six SATs have also been cancelled this year.

We will continue to provide updates as soon as further details are available.


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