Government confirms delayed start of new school term

Published Thursday 31 December 2020 at 10:44

The government has confirmed that the start of the new school term will be delayed for all secondary and college students, to allow schools and colleges to put in place rapid testing programmes.

This means that students in Years 11 and 13, due to take exams in the summer of 2021, will return to school on Monday 11 January.

All other secondary school and college students will return to school on Monday 18 January.

Schools will reopen as planned from 4 January for vulnerable children and for the children of key workers.

Schools and colleges are expected to provide online learning for all students not in school.

Early years settings, primary schools, alternative provision and special schools in Blackburn with Darwen will all return to face-to-face education from 4 January as planned.

The government believes that keeping schools closed for the majority of pupils will help to suppress the new, more contagious strain of Coronavirus, and give schools more time to set up crucial rapid testing programmes.

Coun Julie Gunn, Executive Member for Children, Young People & Education, said:

Coronavirus rates in Blackburn with Darwen are rising once again, and protecting our residents remains our number one priority.

Delaying the start of term for the majority of pupils will allow schools more time to work with the Department for Education on mass testing programmes.

As we know that the new variants of Coronavirus are up to 70% more transmissible and therefore pose a greater threat to our local communities, this mass testing of pupils will be crucial in helping to keep the virus under control in Blackburn with Darwen.

We know that parents and guardians will have concerns about the impact of the pandemic on their children’s education – and I share those concerns. However, if a delayed start to the spring term means that we can have in place robust testing programmes for staff and young people in schools and colleges, it is a sacrifice worth making.

My only regret is that the government did not make their decision earlier, when they were first advised that this would be necessary to allow schools enough time to set up testing programmes.

Read more about the delayed reopening of schools and the Department for Education’s plans for mass testing programmes in schools.

Parents/guardians can expect to hear from their children’s school or college about the arrangements for the start of the spring term in the coming days.

There will also be more information added to Blackburn with Darwen Council website at

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