22 May 2020
The Education Minister has signed a Ministerial Decision, based on health advice, to extend the closure of schools and colleges to 5 June.
Senator Tracey Vallois has also announced that she intends to give an update, next week, on the plan for the safe and gradual re-opening of schools and colleges and the medical evidence to support this.
This means that, with the ongoing exception of critical workers and other vulnerable children, the majority of Government-provided schools and colleges will remain closed for another week following the half-term break.
The earliest that schools and colleges could re-open, in a phased safe return, is Monday 8 June. This date will be kept under continuous review.
Alongside this latest Ministerial Decision, non-Government provided early years settings, childminders, private nurseries and schools are also being advised to remain closed, with the same exception of providing places to support critical workers’ children and some vulnerable children.
The Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills is continuing to work with headteachers, trades unions and others to develop plans for the eventual phased safe return to childcare, schools and colleges of all pupils and students. This planning will, as with all decisions, be based on advice from health professionals, as well as taking account of the views of children and young people as gleaned from a recent joint survey by CYPES and the Children’s Commissioner.
In a statement the Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois, said: “I am extremely mindful of the need to provide as much notice as possible to schools, parents and carers about re-opening. I am meeting daily with officials in the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills and they are liaising closely with the trades unions and school leaders to discuss how we can open schools safely.
“I am hopeful to be in a position to announce further details next week on the plan which, as always, is being driven by advice and evidence from the health specialists.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks and pay tribute to our students, parents and carers for adapting so well to their new learning environments and working so hard during this unsettling and difficult period. And I am so grateful for the professionalism of our headteachers, teachers, support staff, union representatives and everyone who works in education. They are continuing to put children and young people first every day and provide continuity of care and learning to our students and their families.”