Schools open: Are schools opening tomorrow? Do I have to send my child to school?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools have been closed and children across the UK have been learning at home in the meantime. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this month the UK will begin to ease some of the current lockdown restrictions. Some restrictions on education will start to be eased as of June 1.

Are schools opening tomorrow?

As of June 1 primary schools will be reopening in the UK.

The only students who will be returning to work are those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

The Government has hinted other year groups could return to school before the summer holidays.

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The Government website states: “We hope that all primary school children can come back to school before the summer holidays, for a month if feasible, although this will be kept under review.

“Reducing the risks for children and staff is our utmost priority.”

Secondary schools, sixth forms and further education colleges may soon begin providing some support to Year 10 and Year 12 pupils who are due to take exams next year.

However, these pupils are not expected to return on a full-time basis soon.

From June 1, the Government is also asking early year providers, such as nurseries and childminders, to begin welcoming back all children.

Some councils in the UK have refused to reopen schools on this date.

The Government’s decision to reopen schools on June 1 has also been met with criticism from teaching unions.

The UK’s biggest union, the NEU, has told members not to engage with the Government’s plans to reopen in June.

The British Medical Association has backed teaching unions, stating that COVID-19 infection rates in the UK are still too high for England’s schools to reopen.

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Do I have to send my child to school?

Usually, failure to send your children to school will result in a fine.

However, the Government will not be issuing fines at the current time if you decide not to send your children back to school.

The Government does, however “strongly encourage” those with children in eligible year groups, and priority groups such as children of critical workers, to allow their children to attend school as requested by their school or college.

There are exceptions to this, such as if your child is self-isolating or there are other reasons to justify absence, such as shielding due to health concerns.

If you are concerned about sending your child to school, the Government advises you to notify your school or college as normal so staff are aware and can have a discussion with you.

Children and young people who are considered extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should continue to shield, and should not be expected to attend school.

The Government added: “Children and young people who live in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should only attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and the child or young person is able to understand and follow those instructions.

“Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) as defined in the social distancing guidance and including those who are pregnant, can attend.”

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