School Closures

The Department for Education COVID-19 guidance for educational settings

On Wednesday 18th March, Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education announced that from the end of Friday, the 20th March, schools will be closed, other than for:

  • the most vulnerable children (those who have assigned social workers)
  • children of key workers (including NHS staff, police and delivery drivers - full list of key workers is available here)
  • children with particular health or learning needs (those with EHCPs)

Further measures include:

  • schools being given provision to continue to offer meals to children who are eligible for free school meals
  • schools to be asked to remain open over the Easter holidays for those children identified above
  • cancellation of public exams this year
  • cessation of Ofsted inspections and there will be no publication of performance tables
  • the Government working with exam boards, UCASA and Ofqual to make sure children are awarded qualifications

Actions like these are unprecedented and complex further details will be provided as soon as they are announced but the press release from the Secretary of State can be read here.

This will be a big change and a big challenge for many of our local families and Gavin has not taken this decision lightly but it has become clear that we must limit social interaction even more than we are currently doing in order to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure our NHS continues to have the capacity to treat the most unwell.

This is a very difficult time for all of us in Newcastle-under-Lyme and across our nation. The things we're being asked to do will make our lives harder. But we’re doing this for each other, and together we will get though this.

The National Literacy Trust has launched a free comprehensive online zone for parents seeking ideas and guidance for activities that will engage their children at home, whilst also benefiting their reading, writing and language development. You can view their advice here.