Thank you for contacting me about the full opening of schools and wider society.
I am delighted to see that over 99 per cent of schools were open to some or all their pupils as of 10th September, with 92 per cent open to all their pupils.
I agree with the Prime Minister that it is vitally important that all children return to school. Despite the best efforts of teachers and parents throughout the country to provide high quality remote learning, this is no substitute for face-to-face teaching. The period of partial school closures will inevitably have led to many children falling behind and so, for our children's welfare, their health and for their future, I support the Prime Minister’s appeal to parents to send their children back to school.
To support the safe return to school, the Government’s updated CONTAIN framework has been published. This framework sets out four tiers of intervention for schools and colleges when managing local outbreaks and implementing restrictions.
At Tier 1, schools will remain fully open to pupils full time, with face coverings required in corridors and communal areas for pupils in Year 7 and above.
At Tier 2, secondary schools and colleges in the restricted area will be advised to use rotas to help break chains of transmission, with primary schools staying open to all pupils.
Tiers 3 and 4 introduce remote learning full time for wider groups of pupils, with vulnerable children and children of critical workers continuing to attend.
I am pleased to see that within the guidance it is made clear that local government, public health officials and national Government will take all other possible measures before considering restricting attendance in education.
If restrictions are required, remote education will be an essential component in the delivery of the school curriculum for some pupils. All schools are therefore expected to plan to ensure any pupils who need to be educated at home are given the support they need to master the curriculum and make good progress.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue.