Millions of students up and down the country will be returning to school over the next week.
For several months, the Department and schools and colleges have been planning for all pupils, in all year groups, to return full-time from the beginning of this term.
Our guidance, which was published in early July, has been prepared with input from school leaders, unions and sector bodies and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive, is intended to support schools prepare for opening safely.
Around 40% of local authorities have started the autumn term today with others opening schools to all pupils later this week and early next week. According to the National Association of Head Teachers, 97 per cent of schools are ready to reopen fully over the next week.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
Getting all children back into classrooms is a national priority, and these findings shine a light on the brilliant work going on across the country to make sure our schools are ready. I want to thank all of the headteachers, teachers and school staff for everything they are doing to ensure children can get back into their classes safely when the new term starts.
School is the best place for children’s education, development and wellbeing and these findings should give parents and families further confidence ahead of all pupils returning to classrooms over the coming days.
Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield said:
The coming weeks will be an exciting time for millions of children in England. It’s almost six months since most children were in school, and many children will be glad to be with their friends again.
Over the last few days I’ve visited some primary and secondary schools to speak with head teachers and teaching staff about their preparations. I think children and parents can be reassured that teachers and school staff are doing all they can to make their schools as safe as possible, and to keep things as normal as they can be in the circumstances.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb also spoke extensively about the return to school to broadcasters yesterday, recognising the “enormous efforts” teachers and staff have made to prepare for pupils to return.