Newark and Sherwood: How the third national lockdown will affect students
All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across England will remain closed until at least February 22, writes Elliot Ball.
The closing of educational institutions across the country comes after Prime Minster Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown last night.
Mr Johnson's decision came 24 hours after he defiantly said: “There is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe and that education is a priority.”
In last night’s broadcast Mr Johnson said: "We have been doing everything in our power to keep schools open because we know how important every day is to children’s life chances.
"Schools are not unsafe for children, they are very unlikely to be affected by the new variant but they cause the virus to spread between households."
This means almost all pupils will be asked to remain home unless they are classed as ‘vulnerable’ or their parents are key workers. This is in line with the March lockdown.
Steven Chamberlain, head at Barnby Road Academy, gave the school's view on the lockdown.
“The last 24 hours has just been one big blur," he said. "But now we’ve come out of that blur, our focus is that we provide everything we can for the children over the next few weeks and months.
“We want to ensure their lives are not impacted upon any more than they have been in the past few months, and to ensure their learning is still to an appropriate standard so they can continue progressing.
“I think the decision to lockdown was taken out of their (government) hands because of the rise in cases. However, the way in which they have made the decision is in my words rather questionable.”
University and college students will be asked to remain at their current location and not to return until at least mid-February.
In-person teaching at university will only be permitted for critical courses such as those studying to work in the health service.
Nurseries and special schools will remain open.
As for exams, BTEC examinations that are scheduled for the next few days will go ahead as planned.
GCSE and A-levels remain in doubt. The government has reassured students there will be a discussion between the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and the Department for Education about next steps.
In his address last night, Mr Johnson warned it would not be possible or fair for all exams to go ahead as planned this summer.
The government has further announced there will be a system of free school meals for those eligible. This is yet to be announced.