On 18th March 2020, the UK government announced a full closure of schools, colleges and nurseries across the UK, in a bid to halt the spread of the Coronavirus.
Exams scheduled for the end of the academic year were also cancelled, with the government stating that qualifications would be determined and awarded based on teacher recommendation and mock exam results.
The government are currently in talks, aiming to reopen schools for specific year groups at the start of June 2020 where possible. This is still ongoing and yet to be confirmed.
Caring for the children of key workers
With the closure of schools and nurseries across the UK, questions were immediately raised regarding the issue of childcare, particularly for those children of key workers and NHS staff, and for vulnerable children.
In response, the government published a list of those whose occupations meant they were eligible to continue to leave their children in the care of teachers. This list included:
- Health and Social Care
- Justice System
- Religious staff
- Charity staff
- Those involved in food production and distribution
- Teachers and Education staff members
These children were given allocations to special schools in each region which remained open, with numbers capped, and cared for by a rota of teaching staff to ensure the safest possible procedures for staff and children.
For more information provided to those caring for groups of children during the pandemic, click here.
Supporting parents with home-schooling and other areas of care
The closure of schools from the end of March onwards meant a huge and very sudden increase in the amounts of parents facing home school responsibilities.
To support parents and carers, the government swiftly launched a site packed full of advice around continued learning, mental support and overall wellbeing; stating that parents and carers should simply support their child’s learning as best they can, while continuing to meet their other demands at the same time. All this information and more can be found on the government support website.
Most schools across the UK also engaged their staff in providing home school resources and activities for their pupils, ranging from indoor and outdoor activities, to learning sheets, projects and interactive videos.
Many other charities, organisations and individuals have jumped on board with this kind of educational interaction, including the iconic Joe Wicks PE lessons (ensuring children stay active with popular fitness coach Joe Wicks), wildlife education videos about what you can find in your garden from the Wildlife Trusts, and celebrity reading and short tutorial lessons – all published online and across social media.
The primary challenge facing universities amid the coronavirus pandemic has been the colossal loss of income across campuses, as well as the various calls for refunds to tuition and residency fees.
While most universities across the UK are engaging students in remote teaching and providing as much support as they can to ensure that students can still get the most from their studies, by the end of April 2020 the university education sector predicted that it would lose about £2.5 billion in tuition fees alone over the next academic year, with international and UK students continuing to stay away in the wake of the virus.
Many of the top University FAQ’s are answered on this UK university site.