It continues to be the Department’s aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full time. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn.
As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, nurseries, schools, and colleges should not change their Christmas holidays or close early this term. Parents should continue to send their children to school during term time. Head teachers, teachers and staff in schools and colleges have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open.
Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low, and there are negative health impacts from being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be.
If parents have concerns about their child attending school because they consider they or members of their household may have particular risk factors, they should discuss these with their school.