Coronavirus Business Update: School Closures

News on 19 March 2020

Schools close… then reopen

The main headline of the daily Government Press Conference of 18th March was Boris Johnson’s announcement that schools would close by Friday 20th March, and that end of year exams would be cancelled, with pupils getting the grades “they need”.

Except the schools won’t completely close.

Schools will remain open for vulnerable children and children of key workers. Johnson noted NHS, Police and delivery drivers in his speech, although it is widely recognised that this list will expand.

Gavin Williamson has informed BBC Breakfast on 19th March that the “full list” will be made available. This gives Local Education Authorities a very short period of time to define the children they are obliged to support from next week, where they will be supported, the logistics of getting them from and to the locations and what they will be doing with the children and who will be looking after them (and to advise the parents).

As with other announcements in this fast-moving situation, the devil is very much in the detail.

The media grapevine is suggesting the next big announcement is London going into lockdown (although the government has just denied this). This will no doubt create its own unique set of questions as soon as the announcement is made.

Watch this space.