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When do children go back to school in England?

Schools have been closed across the UK since end of March

Sophie Gallagher
Wednesday 26 August 2020 08:47 BST
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Related Video: Boris Johnson's full address to the UK on the fight against coronavirus
Related Video: Boris Johnson's full address to the UK on the fight against coronavirus (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Most primary and secondary school children in England have been out of school since the beginning of lockdown in March.

Although some returned for a brief period before the summer break, September will mark a full return to the classroom for all year groups.

Schools minister Nick Gibb told BBC Radio 4, that schools would be chosen over keeping pubs and other sites open, if compromises need to be made at a local level in the coming weeks and months.

This follows comments by children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, who said schools must be first to reopen and last to close during any future local lockdowns.

Students in Scotland have already returned to the classroom with those in the Borders and Shetlands being the first to return.

But when do students in England go back? What date will your child be expected at school?

When will schools reopen?

Schools across England will go back in the first week of September.

The exact date is available to find on the government website - you need to enter your postcode as the day will be dictated by your region.

School term and holiday dates vary across the UK due to local councils.

Some students will go back the first day after the August bank holiday - Tuesday 1 September (for example, Manchester City Council).

But others will not go back till Wednesday 2 or Thursday 3 September (for example, Essex County Council).

In Scotland pupils have already gone back. In Wales they will return at the same time as pupils in England - the first week of September.

In Northern Ireland term began on 24 August for Primary 7, Year 12 and Year 14 pupils and for vulnerable children across all years. All other pupils will return to school from the week commencing 31 August, according to the government website.

What would social distancing in schools mean for pupils?

Students and teachers will be asked to abide by social distancing rules to prevent the spread of the virus when they return to school.

It means it's likely that break times will be staggered and measures such as keeping students in one classroom and letting teachers move around the building instead, are encouraged.

In areas where there are local lockdowns, Boris Johnson announced on 25 August, secondary-aged students will be required to wear face masks in communal areas and corridors.

They will not be required to wear them in the classroom.

In areas where local lockdowns are not in place, the government says school leaders can choose to make students wear masks, but this is not required.

Will I be fined if my child does not return to school?

On Monday 29 June, Gavin Williamson said that at the start of the academic year, it will be “compulsory” for children to attend school unless they have a “good reason” not to.

Education minister Nick Gibb also said the government will consider fines for parents who keep children out of school as a "last resort".

Current rules allow local authorities to charge parents £60 for a non-attendance of their child. This rises to £120 if the fine is not paid within 21 days.

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