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Schools to reopen in England for all pupils from 8 March

Tuesday 23rd February 2021


Schools and colleges in England will reopen for all children and young people from 8 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday 22 February.

This means that attendance will be mandatory for children of compulsory school age unless that child receives a positive Covid-19 test or has to self-isolate.

Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) children

The advice for pupils who have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable is to shield and stay at home as much as possible until further notice. They are advised not to attend school while shielding advice applies nationally.

You might be asked to provide a copy of the shielding letter sent to your CEV child, to confirm that they are advised not to attend school or other educational settings whilst shielding guidance is in place.

Schools have a duty to provide remote learning to any pupil unable to attend school, whether because they're shielding or self-isolating.

Children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans

It remains the duty of the local authority and health commissioning body to secure or arrange the provision specified in Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. All therapies and support that would normally be in place for children and young people with EHC plans should be provided.

There may be times when it becomes more difficult to do so than usual. In collaboration with local authorities and health partners (where applicable), schools should work with families to co-produce alternative arrangements for delivering provision.

School transport

Local authorities must continue to provide school transport to those pupils who need it.

Testing and masks for secondary school pupils

Secondary school pupils and staff must wear face coverings in classrooms and during activities unless social distancing can be maintained. These measures will be in place until Easter. There are exceptions for those who cannot wear a mask because of a disability or illness, or because they are supporting someone with a communication need.

On-site asymptomatic testing for secondary school pupils will be available in the week beginning 8 March. This is recommended but not mandatory.

Are you anxious about your child's return to school?

It is understandable that some parents will be worried about their child's return to school. It's important to be aware that a child may only remain away from school if a statutory reason applies, such as being unwell. Fixed penalty notices for non-attendance will apply as usual.

If you or your child is anxious about returning to school, the school should be able to explain what measures they're putting in place to protect pupils and minimise risk as much as possible.

You can also get in contact with our helpline team about any concern you have, or make an appointment with our telephone Listening Ear service for an informal chat with a family support worker.

Related information

The government is updating its guidance for parents and families. You can read the new guidance for schools and additional guidance for special schools and alternative provision settings.