Schools in Hillingdon to remain closed

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

All schools in Hillingdon will remain closed at the start of term for most children.

Today (30 December), the Government's Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced that Secondary schools across the country will remain closed until January 11 before opening up in phases. Exam year groups will be provided with remote teaching during the week of January 4.

Williamson also announced that Primary schools in 49 designated high-risk areas, including Hillingdon, will remain physically closed indefinitely apart from for children of key workers and vulnerable children. Pupils not in these categories will be provided with remote education. This will be reviewed every 2 weeks.

The news comes as the UK has records its highest daily death toll since April. More than 50,000 new infections have now been confirmed for two days running.

In a statement explaining the new measures, Gavin Williamson said:

We must always act swiftly when circumstances change. The evidence about the new Covid variant and rising infection rates have required some immediate adjustment to our plans for the new term”.

In response to the announcement, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan stated his support for the delay in reopening secondary schools however called for “urgent clarification about why primary schools in some boroughs will open, but in others will remain closed”.

Khan also called on the Government to “provide more resources to support online learning and ensure students are not further disadvantaged by lack of access to equipment or the internet”.

The National Education Union, who represent the majority of the UK's teachers, say the Government have not gone far enough:

"We are astonished at Gavin Williamson’s announcement, sending the majority of primary pupils and staff back to working environments that aren’t Covid-secure.

"We would like him to explain, if schools are not centres of transmission, why are school-age pupils now the most infected age groups?

"As they are currently organised, we do not believe that schools are safe enough places for education staff to work".