On Wednesday 30 December 2020 the Government announced a plan to keep education settings open in January.
The government is implementing a "contingency framework" in areas with very high rates of incidence or transmission of the virus. There will be a delay to the return of pupils to some primary schools in England due to high rates of coronavirus. Children of key workers will still be able to attend, and early years provision will continue. The closure of primary schools will be reviewed on 18 January. Only Hastings and Rother are on the list of affected areas in East Sussex.
Wealden will be subjected to a phased return of pupils in January (please see the details below).
Key points of the Government's plan
- Early years and primary year groups will return as normal from the start of term, with the exception of a small number of areas where primary schools will shift to remote education in line with the contingency framework.
- Secondary schools and further education colleges will further stagger the return of their students to education to give more time for the rollout of rapid testing to find asymptomatic cases and break chains of transmission, with face-to-face education for all beginning on 18 January. All secondary schools and colleges expected to establish testing
- All children and young people can return to face-to-face education in special schools and special post 16 settings - though some staggering of return can be agreed with parents to allow some special settings roll out rapid testing. All children and young people will return to alternative provision settings from 4 January
- In areas of the country with extremely high rates of incidence or transmission of the virus, the government has taken the decision to invoke the Contingency Framework for Education, meaning that primary schools will also delay the return of most pupils for two weeks. The framework is being invoked so that those primary schools move to remote education for the first two weeks of term, except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.
- In Universities, students doing medical, clinical and healthcare related subjects, including nursing, social care, dentistry and veterinary studies can return as planned, along with those on teacher training courses. All other students should access learning online and remain at their vacation address wherever possible. Plans for the return of remaining students will be kept under review, with the first review point to take place in w/c18 January.
w/c 4 January
- Children of critical workers; vulnerable children are in school/college
- Exam year groups (Y11 and Y13) receive remote education
- No other year groups required to be provided remote education
- Public exams taking place (i.e. VTQs) to go ahead as normal without the need for testing beforehand.
- Secondary schools and colleges to prioritise establishing COVID testing.
w/c 11 January
- Children of critical workers; vulnerable children are in school/college and are able to access wraparound childcare where necessary
- All other year groups to be taught via remote education
- Schools/colleges to run their testing programme rollout, prioritising those children in school, staff and exam cohorts – with staggered return as testing takes place.
w/c 18 January
- All children/young people in school/college for face-to-face education