UK Schools & Colleges Will Not Return to In-Person Classes Until March, PrimeMinister Says

United Kingdom Europe COVID-19 by Erudera News Jan 29, 2021

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Schools and colleges across the United Kingdom will not return to in-person learning because attendance restrictions will remain in effect until March 8 the earliest, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.

Nevertheless, university students following courses such as medical, clinical or health subjects will continue to receive in-person teaching, Erudera reports.

According to a press release issued by the UK government, the Prime Minister has clarified that keeping schools and colleges partially closed will help in minimizing the spread of the virus within communities as well as to protect the public health and save citizens’ lives.

“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,” the press release reads.

The press release outlines that vulnerable children, children of critical workers, and young people will still be allowed to go to schools and colleges, including special schools and alternative provision.

The government hopes to meet the target of vaccinating everyone by February 15, so groups develop immunity three weeks later, adding that it will then consider to fully reopen schools as of March 8.

Taking into consideration that children’s learning can be affected by extending school and college attendance restrictions, the government stated that it would coordinate with parents, teachers and schools in order to create a long-term plan to assist pupils. 

Following this, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said that it is the country’s priority to return in-person education and apprenticeship training but added that it is important to do this at the right time.

He assured parents, teachers, children and all young people that as soon as possible, the health protocols allow it, the first to fully reopen will be schools, colleges and universities.

“I know that this virus will have had a significant impact on children and young people’s learning and that is why we are providing an additional £300m for tutoring programmes and developing a longer-term plan to help all pupils catch up,” he said.

In order to give and receive a quality education in the remote version, the government has been supporting teachers and pupils by delivering 1.3 million laptops and tablets for those who need them, as well as enabled access to free mobile data for disadvantaged families. A total of 875,000 laptops and tablets have already been delivered.

Last year, the UK government announced a catch-up programme, worth a £1 billion, including a £650m ‘Catch-up Premium’ to help address the lost time in teaching as well as to support pupils socially and emotionally. In addition to this, there was also a £350m National Tutoring Programme included, aiming to offer additional tuition support for disadvantaged pupils.

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