Schools in England will close one day early for Christmas this year.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said that schools could schedule an inset day next Friday (December 18) to allow “six clear days” before Christmas Eve.
This means teachers can have a “proper break” over the festive period.
Schools to close one day early for Christmas
Mr Gibb said during a virtual education select committee: “We are about to announce that inset days can be used on Friday December 18.
“Even if an inset day had not been originally scheduled for that day.
“We want there to be a clear six days so that, by the time we reach Christmas Eve, staff can have a proper break without having to engage in the track and trace issues.”
Inset days mean teachers are in schools for professional development, however pupils won’t be.
There have been calls from Unions to allow the final days of term to be remote learning and therefore reduce the risk of students and staff having to self-isolate over Christmas.
However, Mr Gibb said the government wanted schools to remain open until the end of term.
This is because they believe this was the “best place for young people for their education”, development and for their mental health.
What did Mr Gibb say?
He added: “We want to make sure that they (school staff) can have a proper break over Christmas.
“We know they’ve been under huge stress.
“I don’t think some of these senior leadership teams of schools have had a break at all since the pandemic began.”
Mr Gibb also said schools will be allowed to finish term on Thursday, December 17.
However, there may be one less scheduled inset day in 2021 if they choose to do so.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said in the response to the news: “A single day is better than nothing.
“But it still means that school and college leaders will have to continue contact tracing in the event of positive cases through to Wednesday December 23.”
“It also leaves them responsible, at very short notice, for informing families that they will need to self-isolate over the Christmas period.”
Meanwhile, with just two weeks until Christmas, families are getting ready to celebrate in the safest way they can.
The government recently announced that families can meet this Christmas as part of a festive bubble.
The bubble must contain no more than three households.
However, once formed, bubbles must remain exclusive meaning you cannot swap bubbles on different days.
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