UK Schools Reopening Plans: June 2020

Topics: Education Insights
Michael McVerry
Michael McVerry Managing Director 12 June 2020

There are lots of plans out there for schools to start reopening in the coming weeks.

So I thought it’d be helpful to look at how all 4 UK nations are preparing to reopen their schools to more pupils during the Covid-19 pandemic and what guidance they’ll be following.


Many schools have remained open throughout lockdown for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. And over recent weeks, as lockdown has started easing, the government and schools have started planning and reopening to wider groups of children.

  • In England, some primary schools reopened on Monday 1st June to reception class, year 1 and year 6.  This differed across England as some schools decided not to reopen as advised by the government. Some County Councils advised their schools against reopening due to the 5 key criteria for lockdown easing not yet being satisfied in their particular regions, and some schools have also opted to wait for Track and Trace to become more prevalent.

    From Monday 15th June, secondary schools and colleges in England have been asked to provide some face-to-face support alongside the remote learning they’re already providing.

    However, the government’s plan for all school year groups to return before the summer holidays has been dropped recently and instead, they’re now focusing on a possible full return in September.
  • In Wales, schools plan to reopen on the 29th June. Unlike the other home nations, Wales will be reopening their schools to all year groups for limited periods during the week. However, the Welsh Education Minister has said that only a third of pupils will be allowed in school at one time. To help implement this measure the Welsh Government have extended the summer term by 1 week, ending on the 27th July.
  • In Scotland, schools will be reopening on the 11th August. This is a week earlier than planned for most pupils, with Early Learning Centres opening during the summer. Like England, the plan is to carry out phased return of students through a mix of school and home learning.
  • In Northern Ireland, the plan is for schools to start a phased return after the summer break, in late August. The Northern Irish Education Minister said that the August reopening will only be for key year groups who are due to sit exams such as GCSEs and A Levels. There will then be a phased return for all other pupils from September.

How schools will operate

All schools will have reduced class sizes, with year groups being split into smaller classes in order to allow social distancing and protective bubbles to be created. There will be staggered start times, staggered lessons and staggered breaks for each group.

  • Although in Wales the plan is to have a third of pupils present in school, it is believed it may take time for them to reach capacity.
  • England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all invested in resources and supplies to enable remote learning for those who need it. For example, Northern Ireland are planning to provide laptops for disadvantaged pupils to support their distance learning.

Protective measures

Along with the reduced class sizes, further social distancing measures will be applied in schools in all nations.

  • In Northern Ireland, all pupils will have a mixture of scheduled school and learning from home.
  • In Scotland, schools are expected to use different buildings and locations where possible to reduce the risk of infection and transmission.
  • In Wales, it’s expected they will rely on “Test, Trace and Protect”, to make sure pupils, teachers, staff, and parents do not cause a sudden spread of the virus within the school.

All nations will be using the bubble system (each bubble will contain a set number of students and teachers) and will make sure teachers and pupils don’t come into contact with other bubbles, again to help mitigate the spread in the classroom.

Further measures are being announced by each nation’s government as they draw closer to the reopening date and as ever, they are adapting to the ever-changing situation.

As you can see there are some differences in plans across the UK, but most of the measures being put in place by schools are similar:

  • There will be a phased approach.
  • Class sizes will be reduced.
  • There will be staggered start and finish times.
  • Pupils will be in protective bubbles.

The only major difference is when schools are reopening and what year groups will be eligible to return.

If you have any questions about what happens next for schools across the UK or need any support with your marketing planning, please just contact us. You can call us on 01257 460036 or email