Published 27th January
The Prime Minister has confirmed that schools and colleges will not return to full face-to-face education after the February half-term and that the current attendance restrictions will remain in place until 8 March at the earliest.
Children of critical workers and vulnerable children and young people will still be able to attend schools and colleges, including special schools and alternative provision. Early years settings also remain open. All other pupils will to continue to receive high quality remote education at home.
The Prime Minister made clear that while schools and colleges remain safe, keeping them partially closed will continue to help minimise the spread of the virus in communities and protect public health and save lives.
It is hoped that if the target of vaccinating everyone in the top four prioritisation cohorts by 15 February is met, then those groups will have developed immunity three weeks later, by 8 March. The government will therefore look at fully re-opening schools from this date.
He also committed to providing a programme of catch up into the next financial year, involving a further £300m of new money to early years, schools and colleges for tutoring, as well as working in collaboration with the education sector to develop specific initiatives for summer schools and a Covid premium to support catch up.