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Coronavirus: Every school in the UK set to close for months on Friday to halt spread of outbreak

Many schools across England have already been forced to close due to staff shortages

2 min read

Every school in the UK is set to close its doors on Friday as ministers step up their attempts to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

Both the Welsh and Scottish devolved governments have announced that all state schools in those countries will shut at the end of the week.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to confirm on Wednesday evening that England is following suit.

The Northern Ireland Executive has yet to state its intentions, but is almost certain to do the same.

The dramatic development - which brings the UK into line with the rest of Europe - came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock the UK is aiming to test 25,000 people a day for the virus to help tackle the spread. 

Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said all schools and nurseries in Scotland will close to pupils at the end of the week.

Meanwhile Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “I can announce we are bringing forward the Easter break for schools in Wales. 

“Schools across Wales will close for statutory provision of education at the latest on 20 March 2020.”

Both ministers also said there would be further announcements on support for low income students, those who have exams and pupils with additional learning needs.

But when quizzed on school closures during Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson only said a decision on schools would be taken “imminently”.

Hundreds of schools in England are already closed or partially closed because of staff shortages.

And on Tuesday, General Secretary of the ASCL headteachers Geoff Barton union said that many schools would struggle to stay open past the end of the week due to "intolerable pressure".

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