Primary pupils are preparing to return to school next week just as secondary students face extra time at home.
The Government’s revised plans were hastily announced ahead of the start of the new school term on Monday.
But the complicated picture has left many families confused and means different year groups will be affected in different ways.
Here is our at a glance guide.
Primary and first schools
Primary age pupils will be among the first to return. They are due back in the classroom from Monday.
They will also be reopening next week, although there will be ‘some flexibility on face-to-face attendance’ of pupils in the first week of term.
This is to allow staff to prepare for the introduction of coronavirus testing for secondary age students.
Check with your individual school to see what arrangements they are making. Some will give parents the option of individual pupils returning slightly later, although they should be back in class by the second week of term.
Some pupils who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ may stay at home and receive remote education.
As these schools straddle key stage two and key stage three, the return dates are likely to be different depending on the year group. Individual schools might also be making their own arrangements, with slightly different dates for the phased return of pupils.
But generally speaking, children in Year 5 and Year 6 will return as normal on Monday. Pupils in Year 7 and Year 8 – those of secondary age – will get back to the classroom on January 18.
Pupils in Year 7 or above who are classed as vulnerable or from critical worker families will have the option of attending face-to-face lessons from Monday.
Secondary schools and colleges
The only students to be taught on site next week will be those classed as vulnerable or from critical worker families.
Year 11 and Year 13 students who have exams scheduled for next week can also go into their school or college to sit the assessments. But the rest of their learning will take place remotely, and face-to-face lessons won’t resume until January 11.
Students in Years 7 to 10, and in Year 12, won’t return to the classroom until January 18. Schools will be expected to provide remote education, although during the first week of term this will be where ‘resources permit’.
The reason for the staggered start is to help schools and colleges prepare for the roll-out of mass coronavirus testing. Those initially targeted for tests will be teenagers in exam year groups.