Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn, and therefore the Government needs to ensure all pupils can return to school sooner rather than later.
The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. School is a vital point of contact for public health and safeguarding services that are critical to the wellbeing of children and families.
In relation to working in schools, whilst it is not possible to ensure a totally risk-free environment, the statistical evidence suggests that staff in educational settings tend not to be at any greater risk from the disease than many other occupations.
Given the improved position, the Government believes that the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, the Government plans for all children to return to school in September and start to reverse the enormous costs of missed education. This will be an important move back towards normal life for many children and families.