The Sun : When will schools reopen in the UK?

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SCHOOLS could open on June 1 "at the earliest," according to the Government.

Here's everything you need to know about when kids will be getting back to the classroom.

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Kids may have to sit at tables alone when they return to classrooms – like Holywell Village First School (HVFS), in Northumberland
Holywell Village First School/Facebook

When will schools reopen in the UK?

Boris Johnson announced on May 10 the Government's plans for a phased reopening of schools in June 1.

However, he was quick to add these plans were "conditional" and it would depend on the science.

These plans stated years one and six would return to the classroom in June, but in much smaller class sizes.

The next day, on May 11, the PM's full "roadmap" was released, with further details on the reopening of schools.

Parents won't be fined if they refuse to send kids back to school

It stated all primary school pupils will hopefully have at least one month of classroom teaching before the summer holidays, and told teachers to prepare for "some" face-to-face time with year 10 and 12 students.

However, these plans aren't set in stone and many schools across the country have said they won't be opening on June 1 as The National Education Union (NEU) advised members to tell headteachers they were "[awaiting] further advice from [their] union".

Some local authorities, especially in the north of England, have advised their schools to stay closed on that date.

Years one and six are planned to head back first
PA:Press Association

How will social distancing work? 

The Department for Education issued guidelines on May 11 on how schools should enforce social distancing – including limiting class sizes to 15 students.

Schools are told to stagger lunch and break times, as well as drop-off and pick-up times, to reduce the number of pupils moving around at once.

It also said schools should look at bringing in a one-way system in corridors, or putting a divider in the middle to control the flow of kids.

Ministers admitted they cannot keep kids two metres away from each other all day, so each class will form a self-contained "bubble" so they don't mix with other kids at the schools.

But union boss Kevin Courtney tweeted on May 12: "Education unions intend to work together.

"Don't engage with planning a June 1st return to wider opening – await further union advice."

Meanwhile, General Secretary of The National Association for Head Teachers Paul Whiteman told the Education Select Committee: "If social distancing is as we understand it now – the two metre rule to be applied in schools – there are very many schools that are saying it is simply impossible to achieve."

He said making sure younger year groups stay at least two metres apart from each other and their teachers and practice good hygiene such as hand washing will be particularly difficult.

Schools have been closed since March 18 – three days before the Prime Minister announced a nationwide lockdown.

Doubts have been cast over the planned reopening date
PA:Press Association

When did schools close and what has happened since?

  • May 22 – Independent SAGE group warn that it is unsafe for schools to return on June 1
  • May 20Justice Secretary Robert Buckland admits "doubts" schools will reopen on June 1
  • May 19 – List of schools revolting against June 1 opening date grows, as towns in the North and Midlands vow to stay closed
  • May 12 – Teaching union encourages school staff not to engage with June 1 plans, The National Education Union (NEU) advised members to tell headteachers they were "[awaiting] further advice from [their] union"
  • May 11 –  The Government publishes detailed plans on the return to school, and plans are announced for secondary school pupils facing exams to see teachers before sitting tests. The Government says they will "ensure that the youngest children, and those preparing for the transition to secondary school, have maximum time with their teachers"
  • May 10 – Boris Johnson announces plans for years one and six to get to back to the classroom
  • March 20 – Schools closed and it was announced GCSE and A Level exams would be awarded in August based on mock exam results, to much criticism
  • March 18 – It's announced all schools will be closed in two days, excluding for "vulnerable children" and kids of key workers

Primary school kids should be back by June
AFP or licensors

Will parents be fined for not sending children to school?

No10 has also confirmed that parents would not be fined if they chose to keep their kids at home over concerns for their safety.

A spokesman for No10 said: "While we will not penalise [parents] for keeping children at home, once children are eligible to return to school we will strongly encourage them to do so."

Dr Bousted urged the Government to meet tests set out by unions, which includes extra money for deep cleaning and personal protective equipment and local powers to close schools if clusters of infections break out.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on May 12 it was "completely natural" for parents to worry about sending their kids back to school.

No10 has also confirmed that parents would not be fined if they chose to keep their kids at home over concerns for their safety.



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