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NEWS: PACEY update on schools reopening in England

This afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement regarding the latest coronavirus developments in England.

We have summarised the key points from the statement with our responses below:

  • On the week commencing 22 February, the Government intends to publish a plan for taking the country out of the latest national lockdown, based on a review of the latest evidence on vaccinations, coronavirus infections and hospitalisation data. PACEY will be updating members on this and is currently pushing for early years settings and childminders to have access to home testing as their services are all open currently
  • There will be a ‘gradual and phased’ return to relaxing the national lockdown, which will start with schools reopening as the first priority. This will be something that PACEY will scrutinise in detail for early years and childcare as some proposals e.g. rotas for school attendance (one week in school, one week at home) may impact on childcare settings that offer support out of school
  • Schools will not be opening straight after half term: the aim is to reopen schools in England on 8 March at the earliest and the Government intends to give two weeks’ notice of this date
  • The Government is promising additional funding to schools to support pupils under a ‘catch-up’ plan. We will again call for this support to include early years (which was excluded the first time), given many children have not attended early years settings as they would normally
  • Labour has today called for teaching staff to be vaccinated during half term. We are calling for early years workers to be included alongside teaching staff and are making this case to DfE as well as the opposition party.

We are waiting for further information to be shared in relation to the direction and decision making for Wales and will share an update when this is confirmed.