The government is confident that the country will be able to move to step two of its plan to reopen society on the 1st June. A final decision will be taken as part of the government's formal lockdown review on Thursday.
As part of step 2, along with non-essential retailers reopening, it is expected that schools will also partially reopen. The government has set out a phased reopening for schools, to get children back into the classroom safely.
By returning pupils gradually, we can initially reduce the number of children and young people in classrooms compared to usual and put protective measures in place.
Since 23rd March, schools have been open to priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers), this will continue to be the case.
From 1st June:
Children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1, and Year 6 will be able to return from the 1st June, so young children, and those preparing for the transition to secondary school, have the maximum time with their teachers.
The government's ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible, though it will be kept under review and has not yet been announced.
Not all schools are expected to reopen on the 1st June as some may need more time to prepare. The government will work with those schools to reopen to more children as soon as possible.
From 15th June:
Students in Year 10 and Year 12 will have some limited contact with secondary schools and further education colleges to help them prepare for exams next year, with a quarter of these students in at any point.
Keeping your children safe
This step is only taking place because the evidence shows that the virus is under control, and the eased lockdown rules are keeping the infection rate low.
The government recognises that full social distancing may not be possible, especially when teaching young children, so it has set out guidance to keep children and staff safe.
This guidance includes:
reducing the size of classes and keeping children in small groups without mixing with others.
staggered break and lunch times, as well as drop offs and pick ups.
increasing the frequency of cleaning, reducing the used of shared items and utilising outdoor space.
All children and staff, and their families, will have access to testing if they display symptoms. This will enable children and staff to get back to school if they test negative.
To keep children safe at school it's vital that we all continue to do basics ourselves - wash our hands, keep social distance, isolate if you have systems, and get a test.
Clinically vulnerable staff and pupils
Children, young people, and staff who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. They should not go to school or college. If a child, young person, or staff member lives with someone is extremely clinically vulnerable, unless they are able to follow stringent social distancing, they are not expected to attend school or college.
If a child, young person, or staff member is, or lives with someone who is, a clinically vulnerable person (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) can return to school, but they should follow medical advice. Few children are likely to be in this category. Staff in this category should work from home where possible.
The government has published guidance for parents and carers with details you need to know about schools during the outbreak.
Guidance for education and childcare settings on how to implement protective measures have also been published.