When will the schools reopen in the UK and is it safe to send my child back?


Where schools have reopened in China, children wear masks and in some places their temperature is checked by thermal cameras upon arrival.

Will he be sure to send my children back to school?

Mortality and infection rates in the UK remain controversial, but it is clear that healthy children get the virus at a much lower rate than older people or those with compromised immune systems.

The education secretary has said that he will not reopen schools until scientific advice suggests that it is safe.

Will schools close again if they continue to spread?

This seems likely unless the government changes its strategy completely. But any spike in cases will put pressure on the NHS and the government will be forced to react to this.

Learn more: Can children easily get coronavirus?

Will private school fees be reimbursed?

No. Some schools have reduced their tuition fees, but most have said they have to charge normal summer fees in order to pay their fees. The nurseries have been more varied in their approaches.

Until the schools reopen: here’s what to do

While we wait for the schools to reopen, we have compiled expert advice on how to support your child’s learning during the lockout.

What does this mean for learning?

On the one hand, the British education system is significantly repetitive. “Homes are not schools, and they should not be,” said Dr. Dan O’Hare, educational psychologist at the University of Bristol. “The concern is that children need a lot of” learning “- but the program is quite repetitive and they have already covered it, and will cover it again. Schools have been good enough to say that – it’s not home school. “

Dr. Kevin Stannard, director of innovation and learning at the Girls’s Day School Trust, echoes this point: “We call this guided home learning, to emphasize the crucial role of the teacher.” While her schools have generally started on a schedule similar to what students would have in school, after Easter many will take more breaks and perhaps even Wednesdays as independent learning days.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Stannard says young children will need more help from their parents: often when you are in the exam stage, there is a structure you can find to adapt to. “With juniors, what you cannot do is provide a virtual learning environment throughout the day. You also need practical offline activities. “

Read this: How much home schooling your child really needs – according to professionals

Parents should focus on the social, not the

But the biggest loss during this period is social, says Dr. O’Hare. Whether they are four or fourteen, children rely on classroom interactions to develop and maintain the social skills that will carry them throughout life. The adolescent’s development is based on the identity of his peers. To maintain this skill, Dr. O’Hare says social media, along with parental supervision, can be a very positive tool.

What should schools do to support children?

On April 20, the government launched the Oak National Academy, alongside the BBC’s launch of a set of learning resources. Oak National Academy was founded by 40 school teachers from across England, thanks to a government grant. It offers 180 video lessons each week, covering a wide range of topics from math to art to languages, for each annual group from reception to grade 10.

But as this lockdown continues, one thing has become obvious to most families in Britain: we need teachers. Everything we do at home is not a substitute for classroom learning. Many schools have arranged for teachers to stay in touch with parents, and I expect this will increase if the lockout continues for the summer term. If we can manage this well, we can have safe but regular contact between teachers and parents, which could lead to a more collaborative approach to education, in which we take stock of the child’s situation together. and advise the types of resources to use. Parents need professional advice.

Read this: Two-thirds of kids didn’t take online lessons during lockout, study finds

Can I choose home school instead?

Here is the government’s guide to applying for home education for your child. If your child has a weakened immune system, you should talk to your school about staying at home throughout the coronavirus crisis, even if there is a gradual reopening of schools.

Learn more: Best free online resources for home education

How can I send my children to school at home?

Home schooling, or “home schooling”, as favored by its proponents, relies on a rich catalog of resources already available online – and on the broad involvement of parents.

Here’s a guide to educating your child at home, including the best online resources for distance learning, science experiments, and apps to support reading and math skills, and GCSE and level preparation. AT.

Questions and answers with our education editor Camilla Turner

The following is from a Q&A with readers of Tuesday, May 5. You can submit a question for our next Q&A by emailing your questions to [email protected]

“I don’t want my children to go back to school”

Our first question comes from John Jagman in the comments section. John request:

“I am a relatively healthy widower in my mid-fifties, with two teenagers who are currently educated online. Although children are very unlikely to die from Covid, I have read that 75% are asymptomatic, which means there is a high risk that they can get the virus from school and tell me about it. give. If I died of the virus (as Boris almost did), the consequences for my children would be catastrophic.

“So I don’t want my children to go back to school until we have either a vaccine, an effective drug treatment, or a better understanding of those at risk of serious illness. What can I do if the schools reopen? “

Here is what Camilla must say:

The government has yet to announce whether it will be compulsory or optional for children to attend school when they reopen. School leaders believe that parents should have the right to choose to send their children to school, especially if the children or other members of their household have underlying health conditions that make them more likely to develop serious health problems if they catch a coronavirus. Ministers are expected to confirm in the coming weeks what the position will be.

It is true that there are still gaps in the knowledge of scientists on the levels of transmissibility in asymptomatic children. Last week, Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, said there was “no reason” to believe that children would not be able to transmit if they are symptomatic. But he added that the “big question” is how many children have the virus but are asymptomatic and how it is transmitted between them, saying, “The real answer is that evidence continues to emerge in children who have no symptoms. “

“We have two asthmatic children and we are concerned that they may be exposed”

Our next question comes from a reader who would like to remain anonymous. They ask:

“We have two children, one of whom has asthma. When schools return, will the children be forced to attend (as usual) or will there be an option to continue home schooling until treatment or a vaccine is available? Will the government tax school education. We are very concerned that our children will be exposed in the coming months. ”

Here is Camilla’s reply:

The government has yet to announce whether it will be compulsory or optional for children to attend school when they reopen. School leaders believe that parents should have the right to choose to send their children to school, especially if the children or other members of their household have underlying health conditions that make them more likely to develop serious health problems if they catch a coronavirus. Ministers are expected to confirm in the coming weeks what the position will be.

“Is there a date in sight for the reopening of the schools?”

Our next question comes from Tilly bean by email. Tilly request:

Do you know if the government still has a date in mind for the reopening of schools or is it too early?

Here is what Camilla must say:

There has been no official government announcement on the matter, but one is likely in the coming days. Sources in Whitehall said primary schools should reopen on June 1 at the earliest, just after the first semester break in May, with Grade 6 students likely to be the first to return.

The reopening of the schools will be staggered, with different age groups returning at different times. This is so that schools are better able to observe social isolation, which, according to the school leaders, will be impossible if all the pupils return at the same time.

The earliest possible return of elementary students is intended to minimize the threat to “early childhood development” and to help parents return to work. Students aged 10 and 12 should form the first wave of students returning to high school later. .

“Will university students get extensions of their assignments?”

Our next question comes from a reader who would like to stay anonymous. They ask:

“I have a daughter in her last year at university who just closed. Will they get extensions on assignments if they are not canceled due to the amount of stress and pressure that students are currently experiencing? What about university exams? »Canceled? “

Here is what Camilla must say:

As the universities are all independent and autonomous organizations, they each develop their own policies on how to proceed in the current climate. However, they must abide by the directives of the higher education regulator, the Students’ Office, which has the power to impose financial sanctions on universities that breach the conditions.

Most universities have canceled all traditional exams and have found another way to award degrees to students, often with online assessments. Many universities have also promised to have a “no prejudice” policy, which means they will ensure that final year students are not disadvantaged compared to other years. You will need to ask these questions at your daughter’s university for a more specific answer.

“Will there be social distancing in schools? “

Our next question comes from a reader who would like to stay anonymous. They ask:

“Will there be social distancing in schools? Or will the classes be full? Will children be safe? “

Here is Camilla’s reply:

Yes, schools should as far as possible respect the rules of social distancing.

Schools will reopen in stages, with certain year groups returning at different times. This makes it easier to keep children two meters apart. With fewer children enrolled in the same day, schools will be able to divide the class into several classrooms, so that offices can be further apart. Breaks and lunch time, as well as the start and end of the school day and lessons can also be delayed to avoid having many children in the hallways, in the schoolyard or at the gates of the school. school at the same time.

“How will the coronavirus affect students studying their GCSE?”

Our next question comes from Clare Rusher by email:

“I am the mother of a 10 year old student, how will the coronavirus affect students who are currently studying their GCSE with exams to be held next year? All Grade 10 students will miss 4 months of instruction from a teacher. Online learning is a great way but it is not the same as face to face teaching. ”

Here is Camilla’s reply:

Principals are very concerned that Grade 10 students, who are in the middle of their GCSE course, as well as Grade 12 students, who are in the middle of their Level A course. It is likely that when schools will reopen, these two-year groups will be prioritized for an early return. The Ministry of Education has stated that it is not currently planned for students in grades 10 or 12 to repeat a year of school.

Ofqual, the exam’s watchdog, says he appreciates that grade 10 and 12 students are disrupted in their lessons, but said it was “too early to say” what impact it would have on their performance in exams next summer. If there is evidence to suggest that they will perform worse on their exams next summer due to the disruption caused by the lack of schools, then Ofqual says he will work with the exam juries to ensure that students are not disadvantaged. They did not say what it would mean.

“My four year old child will not follow a two meter rule”

Our next question comes from Steph cable by email. Steph request:

“My four-year-olds, almost five, are at the reception in a public primary school in a small town. There is no way he could stick to a two meter ruler. He will be so excited to see his teacher and his classmates that he is likely to break the rule within minutes of going through the doors.

“It’s a small school with no room to keep kids out of the classroom. The playground and PE will not be beginners for social distancing. How is it safe? ”

Here is what Camilla must say:

Schools will be expected to apply social distance as much as possible when they reopen. However, school leaders recognize that there is a limit to what will be possible, especially with young children.

In terms of safety, there is a difference between young children and adults in terms of the transmissibility of the coronavirus. Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, said there was “no reason” to think that children would not be able to transmit if they were symptomatic. Children with coronavirus symptoms are expected to stay at home and isolate themselves, along with the rest of their household, rather than going to school.

However, Professor Powis added that the position on the transmissibility of asymptomatic children is less clear, explaining: “The real answer is that evidence continues to emerge in children who do not have symptoms. “

“When will there be clear guidelines for grade 11 students?”

Our next question comes from Alison via WhatsApp. Here is what Alison must say:

“When do you expect clear advice regarding grade 11 students to be provided, that is, exam results, the appeal process, college enrollment requests, etc.?” “

Here is what Camilla must say:

Ofqual, the exam regulator, has previously published advice on some of these issues. For example, he confirmed that level A students will receive their results on August 13 and GCSE students will receive their results on August 20.

We are still waiting to hear more details about the Ofqual call process. So far, they have said that students could only appeal their scheduled grades if their schools thought there was some kind of data or processing error. Gavin Williamson, the secretary of education, said he was keen that students be given the opportunity to take a “call exam” in the fall or as soon as it was reasonably practical. This allows students to demonstrate that they can achieve a higher grade than their expected grade.

Details for the fall exams have yet to be finalized. Ofqual recently conducted a consultation on this issue and is expected to report on his response “later this month”.

For college applications, it is likely that individual colleges have their own processes in place with deadlines and timelines, so it is worth checking out if they have specific details on their websites.

“Will the children be tested?

Our next question comes from Tara Coletta. Tara request:

“All of my kids had huge cough / fever outbreaks in school dating back to before Christmas. Where are the children in this hierarchy of tests? It would be enough to test a few children from each school to determine the spread of the virus. ”

Here is what Camilla must say:

The government has yet to announce anything about screening for children, so it is not clear at this point what plans, if any, there are.

“How will students make up for their missed work?”

Our next question comes from Carolyn Jarvis in the comments section. Carolyn request:

“What would be the plan if the schools are still only part-time in September? Can’t they ask kids who missed 14 of the 39 weeks in this school year to move on to the next school year in September on a part-time basis? Especially the younger children who will take weeks to relocate to a school environment after months and months of leave in social isolation. ”

Here is Camilla’s reply:

Each school is likely to develop its own plan on how to ensure that students can make up for any important work they missed while the schools were closed. It is unlikely that there will be a government policy requiring children to repeat a school year, but each school will decide the needs of its students and how best to meet them.

“Where can I find information on safety in schools?”

Our last question comes from Mike via WhatsApp. Mike request:

“Where can you find the best safety information in schools as they start to open? “

Here is what Camilla recommended:

The best place to go is the Ministry of Education’s website for its official school safety guidelines. Currently, the guidelines they have posted on their website refer specifically to the current period when schools are only open for a small number of children (the most vulnerable and those whose parents are key workers). These guidelines should be updated in due course to include information on school safety when it reopens for more students, so the best thing to do is to continue to visit their site.


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