The education secretary has confirmed that primary schools in England cannot accommodate all students before the summer holidays.
The government’s ambition was for all elementary school children to return to the classroom four weeks before the end of the summer period, but Gavin Williamson has announced that this will not be necessary.
Here we look at when students in the UK go back to school:
– Which year groups in England are already back in school?
Schools, colleges and daycare centers in the UK were closed more than 11 weeks ago due to the coronavirus outbreak and remained open only to vulnerable students and the children of key workers.
But last week, children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6 started returning to school in England.
According to government guidelines, these children must be kept in classes of up to 15 students.
– Have all schools in England been reopened for children in these year groups?
A number of councils, including the North West of England, have advised schools to delay the reopening of children after new data suggested that the coronavirus could still spread in their local areas.
Meanwhile, some school leaders have said that they do not have enough physical space on site to allow all students in the eligible year groups, while following government guidelines to limit classes to 15.
The most recent government figures show that just over half (52%) of primary schools reopened for more children last Thursday.
– When will high school students and students return to England?
The government wants high schools and colleges to provide “some face-to-face support” to students ages 10 and 12, as well as 16 to 19-year-olds who will be required to take major exams from June 15 next year.
Only a quarter of the students can attend at the same time to limit the risk of transmission.
Mr Williamson has told MPs that he plans to have the GCSE and A level exams run normally next year.
– What about children in the other year groups?
The original goal of getting all primary school children back to school before the summer has been dropped.
But Mr. Williamson said he would like to see schools that “have the capacity” to bring back more students before the summer break whenever possible.
He said the government is “working to get all children back to school in September.”
– How does the return to school plan differ in Scotland?
The Scottish government aims to get all children back in school on August 11, but they will spend about half their time in school and the other half at home.
Education Secretary John Swinney has said that parts of the school grounds can be expanded to observe social distances, and community centers, conference rooms and libraries can also be used.
Children will return to a “mixed model of part-time school and home part-time learning”.
– When will the students return to Wales?
The Welsh government plans to reopen all schools on June 29.
Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said a four-week deadline ending July 27 would give students, staff and parents time to prepare for a “new standard” when the next academic year begins in September.
Ms. Williams said that a phased approach to school reopening would provide staggered starts, lessons and breaks for students, with a third of children attending school at any one time.
– When do children in Northern Ireland have to go back to school?
The plan is for all children to resume lessons in phases in September, but schools can accept students preparing for exams in the third week of August.
Those studying for major public tests and transferring from elementary schools to post-elementary schools would be among the first to return to classes under an intended phased reopening, said education minister Peter Weir.
Two weeks later this fall, exams will be taken to access post-primary schools, allowing more time for elementary school teachers to make up for lost class time since the school closed.