Are nurseries staying open during the national lockdown?

4 January 2021, 21:04

Pupils arrive at Manor Park School and Nursery in Knutsford, Cheshire
Pupils arrive at Manor Park School and Nursery in Knutsford, Cheshire. Picture: PA

By Megan White

England will enter a second national lockdown from Tuesday, with the public once again told to stay at home in a bid to curb rising coronavirus cases.

People will only be allowed to leave their homes to shop for food, go to work if you cannot do so from home, and exercise with your household or support bubble or one other person.

The rules are expected to stay in place until the middle of February.

Read more: National lockdown for England amid soaring Covid cases

But will childcare facilities and schools be allowed to open?

Here are the latest regulations:

Will nurseries be open during the lockdown?

Early years settings such as nurseries, alternative provision and special schools will remain open during the second lockdown.

Vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities.

Will schools be open?

From Tuesday, all primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to remote learning, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

In a statement, the Government said: "While children are still very unlikely to be severely affected by Covid-19, the government recognises that schools must be included in the restrictions in order to have the best chance of getting the virus under control as schools can act as vectors of transmission, causing the virus to spread between households when rates are high."

Schools will be required to provide remote education for those learning at home.

What are the rules in Scotland?

In Scotland, schools and nurseries will remain closed to most pupils until February, meaning an additional two weeks of home learning for most pupils.

What are the rules in Wales?

Schools and colleges across Wales will move to online learning until January 18.

The government had previously arranged for schools to have flexibility over the first two weeks of the spring term, allowing them to choose when students would return to in-person learning.

Special schools and pupil referral units should remain open if possible.

What are the rules in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland is in the second week of a six-week lockdown in which non-essential retail is closed, and people are urged to stay at home.

But, amid soaring numbers of coronavirus infections, ministers were taking part in an urgent meeting on Monday evening, with First Minister Arlene Foster saying the Stormont Executive has "very difficult decisions to take" in a "dire situation".

She did not rule out keeping schools closed.

The current plan is for primary pupils to be taught remotely for the week from January 4-8, while for secondary school Years 8 to 11, remote learning is due to last for the entire month.