18th March - Coronavirus update SCHOOL CLOSURES

Schools are to close to most students this weekend.

Today the PM and Education Secretary set out the difficult decision to close schools as mainstream settings, after they finish the school day this Friday. This will also apply to other educational and childcare establishments too.

Children who are vulnerable, including those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans for Special Educational Needs will still be able to attend. There will also be provision made available for the children of "key workers" required to help us fight the virus - a list of these key workers is to be published tomorrow.

Children on Free School Meals will be eligible for a voucher scheme, which is to be laid out in the coming days.

There are to be no exams this year and the Department for Education will work with schools and OfQual to help award qualifications to those students affected.

We all recognise the huge challenge that this is for schools and teachers, and also for families who are faced with having to stay home to look after children. The Chancellor will set out in the next day or two what measures will be taken to support people's incomes and ensure they can pay the bills at this difficult time. I'll update you on those announcements as soon as they happen.