The Prime Minister confirmed that all UK schools, colleges and nurseries would close from Friday 20th March 2020 until further notice, except for looking after the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children. The aim during the closure is to provide a ‘safe place’ for a limited number of children rather than normal education provision and this does not require teaching the national curriculum. There is an expectation that provision for these children will also continue throughout the Easter holidays wherever possible.
This academic year’s exams will not go ahead in England and Wales.
Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision was published by the DfE and Cabinet Office on 19th March 2020, which can be found here. It sets out some initial information about how the closure arrangements are expected to operate, and gives the definitions of “key workers” and “vulnerable children”. The definition of key workers has since been amended to include school support staff, not just teachers.
Further guidance for schools about temporarily closing was published on 22nd March 2020 and was updated on 31st March, which can be found here. Many of the practicalities have been left to schools to determine.