Covid-19 – Latest Guidance for Schools – 3.30 pm 27 January 2021

John Cook


  • The PM made a statement to the House of Commons today and confirmed the hope that schools would ‘re-open’ week commencing 8th March 2021.
  • The Full statement is here – Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons on coronavirus: 27 January 2021
  • 6.8 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine.
  • All current evidence shows that both the vaccines remain effective against the new variant.
  • On track to achieve the goal of offering a first dose to everyone in the top four priority groups by the middle of February.
  • Government to publish a plan for taking the country out of lockdown in the week commencing 22nd February 2021.
  • New international travel ban – ‘We have banned all travel from 22 countries where there is a risk of known variants including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations, and in order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries, I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in government-provided accommodation – such as hotels – for ten days without exception. They will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine.’
  • The PM emphasised that ‘it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes and we will enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel.’

Further details for schools
In relation to schools the PM said:-

‘Re-opening schools must be our national priority and the first sign of normality beginning to return should be pupils going back to their classrooms.

I know how parents and teachers need as much certainty as possible, including two weeks’ notice of the return of face-to-face teaching.

So I must inform the House that, for the reasons I have outlined, it will not be possible to re-open schools immediately after the February half term.

I know how frustrating that will be for pupils and teachers who want nothing more than to get back in the classroom and for parents and carers who have spent so many months juggling their day jobs not only with home schooling but with meeting the myriad other demands of their children from breakfast until bedtime. And I know too the worries we all share about the mental health of our young people during this prolonged period of being stuck at home.

So our plan for leaving the lockdown will set out our approach towards re-opening schools.

If we achieve our target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups with their first dose by 15 February – and every passing day sees more progress towards that goal – then those groups will have developed immunity from the virus by about three weeks later, that is by 8 March.

We hope it will therefore be safe to commence the reopening of schools from Monday 8 March, with other economic and social restrictions being removed thereafter as and when the data permits – then or thereafter, I should say, Mr Speaker.

As we are extending the period of remote learning beyond the middle of February, I can confirm that the government will prolong arrangements for providing free school meals for those eligible children not in school – including food parcels and the national voucher scheme – until they have returned to the classroom. We can also commit now that, as we did this financial year, we will provide a programme of catch up over the next financial year.

This will involve a further £300m of new money to schools for tutoring and we will work in collaboration with the education sector to develop, as appropriate, specific initiatives for summer schools and a Covid Premium to support catch up.

But we recognise that these extended school closures have had a huge impact on children’s learning which will take more than a year to make up.

So we will work with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their learning over the course of this Parliament.’

General Guidance
The general coronavirus guidance starts here:-

John Cook – Solicitor

John Cook

I am a qualified Solicitor with over 30 years’ experience running a business, managing a team, appearing in the Employment Tribunal and advising on almost every conceivable employment law and HR issue. Clients appreciate my down to earth and straight forward approach that allows them to achieve results and manage their organisation more effectively. I take the worry out of employment law and HR issues with a proactive and robust approach.