Statement on education and early years closures in England

General Secretary comments on  the announcement that schools will close from Monday because of Coronavirus / COVID-19. This news item may no longer reflect current advice or information. Click here for the latest advice and information.

Commenting on the announcement (18 March 2020) that schools will close from Monday, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children, and that nurseries, private schools and sixth forms should also follow this guidance, Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of Voice: The Union for Education Professionals, said:

“This is a momentous and unprecedented decision that will have profound implications.

“However, it will be a relief to the whole education and childcare workforce to have a decision after days of speculation and concern, especially as more and more staff self-isolate.

“The cancellation of SATs and exams is welcome, but we recognise that students will be anxious about the details of a fair and equitable grading system that will enable them to progress their education, training or employment options.  

“Schools will have a key role in caring for vulnerable children and the children of key workers, and this is to be welcomed, but, as is so often the case, the devil is in the detail. 

“We therefore await publication of the emergency bill tomorrow and further details of how schools and the school workforce are expected to deliver a very different service, how qualifications will be awarded, and the financial support promised for early years settings.  

“While we welcome the measures announced, we also seek reassurance that no member of the education or early education and childcare workforce will be disadvantaged or penalised should they not be able to work, and that their employment is secure.”

Further information


DfE: Schools, colleges and early years settings to close (18 March 2018)


Statement from the Prime Minister on school and nursery closures (18 March 2018)


Ofqual: Coronavirus - a further statement (18 March 2020)


Coronavirus information (Voice)



Press office

01332 373 337