But all schools will remain open on Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and the morning of Wednesday 22 December for the children of any parent who cannot find alternative childcare arrangements and those invited to attend by head teachers. No formal learning will take place during these days but staff will continue to be working.
In ending term early but keeping schools open, the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture said it was seeking to provide as much flexibility as possible - while supporting families concerned about the Christmas holidays and staff who had managed an incredibly challenging period during the last 10 weeks.
ESC president Andrea Dudley-Owen said her committee had taken what it believed was a ‘sensible decision’ at this point having considered the current challenges in keeping schools fully operational due to staff and student absences, the impact the last 10 weeks of term on school staff and young people - ‘and importantly the upcoming Christmas holidays where we of course want to limit the risk of families having their special time severely impacted by Covid-19’.
‘We certainly did not take this decision lightly and importantly schools will remain open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning next week so that, the children of any parent who simply cannot find alternative arrangements and those invited by the school, can continue to attend.
‘We expect student numbers in settings will drop significantly and this will reduce the serious pressure that our workforce has experienced in recent weeks, where they have really been on the frontline. I would like to extend, my deep and heartfelt gratitude to all staff across education for their efforts in helping to keep our children safe and in school during this really challenging time.’
As planned, the private schools will be breaking up on Friday.