Jersey schools to remain closed until June at the earliest

Schools in Jersey will stay closed until Monday 1 June at the earliest.

Independent schools, nurseries and childminding service are being encouraged to do the same.

The decision has been made by the Education Minister on the advice of the island's Medical Officer of Health. It means schools and colleges will remain closed through to the end of the summer half-term in May, with the situation being kept under continuous review.

Highlands College, which does not normally have the break, will also be closed until Monday 1 June.

However La Sente and Mont à l'Abbé are exceptions to this rule.

A number of childcare services and schools will continue to be places to support critical workers’ children and some vulnerable children throughout this time.

Jersey's Education Minister says she is disappointed for those students who were due to take exams but says she is pleased with the support pupils have received through online lessons and resources.

For those students taking formal qualifications, I remain saddened that they will not be able to undertake final examinations but am grateful for the commitment shown by teachers who are undertaking additional assessments to support the revised process of assessment and grading.

Senator Tracey Vallois, Jersey's Education Minister

Senator Vallois has also thanked parents and carers for continuing to pay fees while their children are not at school and says there is support for those struggling to afford them.

Continuing to pay these fees is crucial to the sustainability of our schools and underpins the alternative on-line learning and teaching arrangements that the schools and colleges have put in place. I understand and recognise that for some parents, the impact Covid-19 will be having on personal finances and that paying fees may be increasingly difficult or out of reach. Parents whose income is impacted should, in the first instance, contact their school in the normal way for a confidential discussion. Our fee-paying schools have existing hardship schemes and can discuss with parents how and when these can be accessed.

Senator Tracey Vallois, Jersey's Education Minister

A new project team has been set up to review the funding and fees of nurseries schools and colleges with the Minister agreeing to freeze fee increases until the end of 2020.

While schools are closed for another month, the Education Department says it is working with headteachers and trade unions to develop a phased return to childcare, schools and colleges for all young people in the island.

Senator Vallois is also calling on the government to look at whether the number of children attending early years settings, childminders and privatenurseries might be increased.