Everything Parents Need To Know About School Closures in 2021

With a third national lockdown being announced in England and primary and secondary schools closing for a second time, it’s certainly a worrying time for parents and students. With schools already being closed for a large portion of 2020, it’s normal to feel a little concerned about your child’s education and making sure they’re going to be getting the learning time needed. Here’s everything we know so far.

General School Closure Information

  • The Prime Minister announced earlier this week that schools will need to offer remote learning until at least mid-February 2021.
  • For children learning at home, the government expects schools to provide 3-5 hours of teaching per day, depending on the child’s age.
  • Only vulnerable children and the children of key workers will be allowed to attend schools for face-to-face learning. This does include all children without access to a laptop at home or a quiet place to study.
  • Children entitled to free school meals will continue to receive them during school closures.

What will happen to GCSE and A-Level Exams?

  • In England, A-levels, AS levels and GCSE exams have been cancelled and teachers’ estimated grades will be used instead. The government says training and support will be available to ensure grades are awarded fairly across the country.
  • In Wales, GCSE, AS and A-Level exams have also been cancelled, with grades to be based on classroom assessments.
  • Scotland’s Higher, Advanced Higher and National 5 exams have been cancelled for 2021, with final grades based on teacher assessment.
  • In Northern Ireland, no GCSE, AS or A-Level exams will take place, however, it isn’t clear what alternative awarding arrangements will be put in place just yet.
  • Primary school SATs will also not go ahead this year. It has not yet been mentioned whether 11+ entry exams will go ahead as usual.

When will schools reopen?

  • All schools will remain closed until mid-February, with the possibility that these measures could be extended further.
  • The government have stated they’ll be reviewing the restrictions on schools, colleges and universities to ensure that children return to school as soon as restrictions can be lifted.
  • This means most school pupils will stay at home until at least February half term.

How will COVID-19 testing work?

  • The Government had previously set out a plan for every secondary school to test as many pupils and staff as possible when they reopened. However, the following plan still stays in place for those physically attending school at the moment.
  • Weekly testing for secondary and college staff
  • Two tests, three to five days apart, to students in year 7 and above attending school (critical worker children and vulnerable children)
  • Daily testing for staff and students in the groups above if they are a close contact of a positive case
  • The government have also stated they will continue to explore the rollout of testing for primary staff in the second half of January as they’d already planned.
  • It is not yet clear if schools will still be required to mass test pupils after the latest school closures have ended.

How Can I Manage Learning At Home?

We know how daunting learning at home can be, which is why we’ve put together some helpful blog posts to help everyone get through this tricky time. Whether you need a big list of educational websites or some strategies to help with learning at home, check out the resources here:

Tutor Doctor is also on hand to help. We offer an excellent online tutoring service, where all students are matched with a tutor based on their needs or goals, and are provided with a tailored custom learning plan. Our mission is to guide students through their educational journey, helping them succeed in learning as well as in their daily life. For more information regarding our online tutoring programs, click here.

For more information or further guidance regarding school closures in 2021, please visit the official Gov web page here.