Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that secondary and college pupils in exam years should return from the week beginning of January 11 - with the rest of pupils returning on January 18. “Most” schools will reopen after then however some primary schools will be asked to stay closed if they are in areas were COVID-19 is more frequent. Additionally, many secondary schools will be advised not to allow all pupils into school and only welcome a portion of students with the rest home learning. 

It has been calculated that around a million pupils will not be returning to school as they hoped they would be next week. From the areas where primary schools will not reopen in London, Essex, Kent, East Sussex, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire - there are 1.05 million children aged between four and 11. However it is possible that these figures have been over exaggerated as they may include 4 year olds who have not started school and 11 year olds who no longer attend primary schools. 

To help keep the home learning process as smooth as possible the Education Secretary has said the government will be delivering 50,000 devices to schools on January 4th. A further 100,00 devices are due to be delivered in the first week of term. Williamson said that he is ‘more determined then ever’ to ensure children ‘do not pay the price’ for COVID. On the contrary, these ideas to use home learning at its maximum potential have not always been met with the support the government craves at the moment. The general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said, while speaking with a London news reporter: “This is another last-minute mess which could so easily have been avoided if the Government had listened to school leaders before the holidays."Instead, back then, schools which wanted to shift to remote learning were threatened with legal action. Now we have a situation where the Government is instructing schools to reduce the amount of teaching time available.“If we’d had the freedom to take action before the holidays, we might have been in a position to have more schools open for more pupils. School leaders will be baffled, frustrated and justifiably angry tonight.”