Breaking: School return dates change because of Covid impact

Gavin Williamson wants some pupils to return to school on June 1.

Gavin Williamson - Credit: Archant

The new school term in January will be delayed for many students.

Education Minister Gavin Williamson told the House of Commons this afternoon (Wednesday, December 30) that not all schools will go back on Monday, January 4.

There will be a staggered return for secondary schools and colleges, to allow mass rapid testing of students and staff.

"This kind of mass testing will help protect not just children and young people, it will benefit everyone in the community. It will break those chains of transmission that are making infection rates shoot up. This in turn will make it safer for more children to physically return to school."

All secondary school pupils in exam years are to return the week of January 11. The remaining secondary school pupils and college students will return the week of January 18.

During the first week of term, on or after January 4, secondary schools and colleges will prepare to test as many staff and pupils as possible and will only be open to vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Testing will then begin the following week.

Exam years will have lessons remotely. Only vulnerable children and the children of key workers will have face to face teaching.

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The overwhelming majority of primary schools will be opened as planned on Monday January 4. In a small number of areas, where infection rates are highest, only vulnerable children and the children of critical workers will attend face to face.

Story update at 5.50pm: The list has been published on the website. Uttlesford primary schools will go back on January 4 as planned.