Schools are to be closed in Scotland and Wales, although a decision on English schools isn’t expected until later today.
Nicola Sturgeon (above), the First Minister in Scotland, said in a statement:
“This has been one of the hardest decisions we have faced so far as we tackle the coronavirus. SAGE – our expert scientific advisers – are examining new advice that is very likely to tell us to close schools. We also know more and more schools are approaching a point where they have lost too many staff to continue as normal. At this stage I cannot promise schools and nurseries will reopen after the Easter break.
There will require to be a lot of local flexibility and we are working closely with local authorities to put those arrangements in place. Teachers, school staff and those in the nursery sector will have a vital role in the weeks ahead and we will work with you to minimise the impact on all our young peoples’ education, and in particular the most vulnerable groups.”
Kirsty Williams, the Minister for Education in Wales, said in a statement:
“Today, I can announce we are bringing forward the Easter break for schools in Wales. Schools across Wales will close for statutory provision of education at the latest on 20 March 2020. I have been clear up to now that the continuity of education and the wellbeing of our learners has been at the heart of my decision making. This will always be the case.
From next week, schools will have a new purpose. They will help support those most in need, including people involved in the immediate response to the coronavirus outbreak. I am working with my colleagues in the Cabinet, with government officials and our partners in local government to develop and finalise these plans.
The key areas we are looking at are supporting and safeguarding the vulnerable and ensuring continuity of learning. We are looking in detail at how we can support and safeguard all those who benefit from free school meals and children with additional learning needs. I will make sure you are kept up-to-date.”