Exclusive: DfE considering delay to start of next term

Government expected to announce plans tomorrow for the return of schools after the Christmas break

John Roberts and Amy Gibbons

Coronavirus: The DfE is considering delaying the start of the new school term, Tes understands

The government is considering delaying the start of next term in the new year, Tes understands.

The Department for Education is expected to make an announcement about the potential later start tomorrow, according to sources close to the DfE.

It is understood that the later start would be for secondary schools and that the delay could be as long as a week.

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The news comes after the government ordered mass testing of secondary school-age students in Covid hotspots in the South East and has been involved in ongoing controversy about whether schools move to online learning in the last week of this term.

Coronavirus: Will the start of the new school term be delayed?

Yesterday the NEU teaching union urged the government to move teaching online for the first week of next term to give schools enough time to train staff in administering Covid-19 tests.

The call came after the DfE announced that every secondary school in England, as well as special schools and alternative provision, will have access to rapid coronavirus tests from next month "to help keep staff and students as safe as possible and in education".

A DfE spokesperson said: “Children’s education is a national priority and this government has acted in the interest of children since the start of the pandemic.

“Schools, colleges and early years settings across the country have worked tremendously hard to put protective measures in place that are helping reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted.”

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John Roberts and Amy Gibbons

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