At press conference today, our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that, due to the rise of Coronavirus and UK deaths now breaking the 100 mark, schools, colleges and nurseries will be asked to close at the end of the day this Friday until further notice. An exception will be made for those children who are most vulnerable, and children of workers in key sectors, such as the NHS and the police.
As the global Coronavirus crisis has unfolded over recent weeks, our schools have risen to the challenge and our teachers have remained determined to educate our children to the best of their ability despite, challenging and unprecedented circumstances. Headteachers have supported staff, as many were forced to self-isolate, and some have found it hard to find replacements at short notice.
Some parents have been withdrawing children from education settings, and it is clear that the decision the Prime Minister has taken is a difficult one, but one taken reliant upon scientific advice of the reality our country now faces. Just a few days ago, both the Government and school leaders were determined to keep the overwhelming majority of schools open to ensure that Britain's parents without childcare were not left high and dry. However, as the health situation rapidly evolved, so too did that position.
Early years settings, sixth form colleges, higher and further education institutions, academies, free schools, and independent schools are also expected to also close, to minimise the spread of Coronavirus as much as possible.
Questions remain. How will pupils sit their exams? What qualifies as ‘key worker’ in this current climate? How long will settings remain closed for? We understand that these will be addressed in the coming days and weeks.
The National Education Union has welcomed the decision taken to close schools, and indicated that cancelling exams offers a degree of reassurance in these uncertain times.
It is now of vital importance that those who work in the education sector, those parents who have worries about the education of the children, and those who share our passion for education make use of the Conservative Education Society as a forum for MPs to understand your concerns about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Sign up to the Conservative Education Society today and join us in these vital discussions on the future of our country.