During the period of national lockdown, schools should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils should not attend and should learn remotely until February half term.
On 7 January, the Department published guidance that sets out what all schools will need to do during the national lockdown: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf. Guidance is also available on the children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.
Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school. If parents and carers who are critical workers can work from home and look after their children at the same time then they should do so.
Every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on site provision is provided for these pupils, and there is no limit to numbers of these pupils who may attend, and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. This is because we are reducing overall social contact across areas and the country rather than individually by each institution.
The Department will continue to review the restrictions on schools and will ensure that children and young people return to face to face education as soon as possible.