School Closures January 2021: An Update

Topics: Education Insights
Lyndsay Rushton
Lyndsay Rushton Marketing Manager 10 January 2021

As you’ll know, the UK is sadly now in another pandemic lockdown and schools have returned to remote teaching. As everyone navigates the latest regulations, we’re here to provide you with some much-needed reassurance and insight into how and why marketing to schools should still be part of your 2021 marketing plan.

Since the government’s announcement on Monday 4th January 2021, the UK has gone into a national lockdown. This means that schools across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are currently closed, and pupils are learning from home.

However, this doesn’t mean that everything has stopped. In fact, schools still need your products and services. 

I sat down with our Managing Director and a current Chair of Governors, Michael, to ask for his unique insights and professional opinion about the situation in schools right now. Plus, his top advice on how to manage your marketing to school efforts.  

The current situation

All pupils are currently learning from home, apart from those classed as vulnerable and children of key workers. 

The 4 UK nations are all following their own guidelines:

  • England – Remote learning until at least March. The aim is to start reopening schools again from 8th March. 
  • Northern Ireland – Remote learning until after the half term in mid-February.
  • Scotland – Remote learning until mid-February. A phased reopening will start from 22nd February.
  • Wales – Remote learning until at least February half term.    

All of these dates, of course, can change depending on the situation at the time.

It’s also worth highlighting that all early years settings (nurseries) across the UK will remain open and special schools are open where possible.

Better prepared

To maintain high-quality teaching and to better equip students, parents and teachers, the government is supplying many resources – from laptops and tablets to free data and 4G routers.

Oak National Academy is offering video lessons and the BBC is contributing 4 weeks of educational programmes and lessons to all households.

Furthermore, all state-funded schools are legally required to provide between 3 and 5 teaching hours a day, depending on a child’s age.

Schools are open

Let’s not forget, that while a large proportion of the UK’s children are learning from home, there are still a significant number of vulnerable pupils and children of key workers that are going into school. 

Compared to the lockdown in March 2020, the government has changed the criteria of what constitutes a “key worker”. They have now been renamed to “critical workers” to incorporate a lot more professions. This means a larger number of pupils, particularly of primary school age, will be attending school during this current lockdown. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests some primary schools currently have between 40 and 50% attendance. While we know this won’t be the case for all schools across the UK, it’s worth noting and remembering that schools are open and in order to keep them functioning and supporting pupils they need supplies. 

Teachers are working

Whether they’re teaching from home or a classroom, teachers are still working. Their duties may be different from normal, but teachers are available and reading emails.

So, if your business has a service or product that could support them, their pupils, or their department, get in contact with them and let them know

The financial year

As April 2021 approaches, so does the end of the school financial year.

Understandably, financially there has been a strong focus recently on PPE and other protective measures to keep schools safe.

However, in order to receive the same budget next year, if not more, subject departments will need to justify their budget allocation to head teachers or governing bodies. This means they’re now looking to continue with any developmental plans that were put on hold, as well as stocking up on essential items and general day-to-day supplies.

Because of this, we can confidently assure you that schools are still operating and functioning to support their pupils, so they will need your products and services. 


One of the major differences of this lockdown compared to the one in March 2020, is the majority of exams have been cancelled. 

    • England – GCSEs, AS and A Level exams will not go ahead in summer 2021. Schools and colleges can continue with the vocational and technical exams due to take place in January where possible. 
    • Northern Ireland – All GCSE, AS and A Level examinations will not go ahead in summer 2021.  
    • Scotland – Higher and Advanced Highers exams are to be cancelled in Scottish schools.
    • Wales – Essentially all WJEC Qualifications, GCSEs, AS and A Level exams scheduled for January and summer 2021 have been cancelled. However, examinations for GCSE home economics: child development and GCSE health and social care will take place.

    Pupils will be awarded grades by teachers. Exam results for A Levels and GCSEs are likely to be released much earlier than usual, possibly in early July.

    Ofqual and the Department for Education are currently in consultation about exactly how results will be fairly and consistently decided, and when they will be released.

    Mass testing 

    To help control Covid-19, the government plans to introduce mass testing to schools across the UK. The aim of mass testing is to help identify asymptomatic cases to limit the spread of the virus. 

    When it’s safe to do so, regular testing will be available to secondary school pupils and staff to help reopen schools as soon as possible. Combining all these different measures hopefully means pupils will be able to continue with face-to-face education as soon as possible.

    What does all this mean for you and your business? 

    It goes without saying that now isn’t the time for all businesses to market to schools. However, if your business can support teachers, pupils or parents to navigate learning from home or help make school a safe place to be, then now is definitely the time. 

    During the first lockdown in March 2020, we helped lots of new and exciting clients connect with schools. From virtual yoga practises to soft skill programmes – we even helped to launch a brand-new business.  Discover our case studies today.

    To support your business the best we can, our marketing to schools experts are offering flexible marketing packages to ensure your next campaign works for you and for growing your business during this time.

    Contact us today on 01257 460036 to talk over your marketing options or email us at