English schools full re-open March 8, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

The UK government has today (Monday, February 22) announced its plans for the easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that all schools in England will reopen from Monday, 8 March.

Going to school or college

Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until 8 of March at the earliest.


In the circumstances, it is not possible for exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. The Department for Education will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.

Providers can continue with the vocational and technical exams that are due to take place in January, where they judge it right to do so.

Click here to read the full guidance.

Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance

The full school guidance can be found here.

Members in England will welcome the news that boarding pupils can now return to school on Monday, 8 March. We have sought clarification to find out if international pupils can return in advance of this date to complete their quarantine in boarding.

Please note pupils from a ‘red list’ country are not yet permitted to return to school, unless they have a right to reside, in which case they would need to quarantine in a Government hotel, but all other international students are permitted to quarantine in boarding. The related paragraph from the schools guidance is below

BSA is still in discussions with DfE and DHSC to permit ‘red list’ pupils to the UK and we urge members to continue to lobby their MP’s, as detailed in our email last week.

Alongside SCIS and WISC we are also having similar conversations for Scotland and Wales.

Pupils travelling from abroad

Where pupils travel from abroad to attend a boarding school you will need to explain the rules to pupils and their parents before they travel to the UK.

Anyone who is not a British or Irish national, or who does not have the right to reside in the UK, who has travelled from or through a ‘red list’ country in the previous 10 days, is not permitted to enter the UK and should be told not to travel.

Where pupils (and their parents or guardians or family member) meet the UK entry requirements and have travelled from or through a ‘red list’ country in the previous 10 days, they must quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days. Pupils travelling to England from other, non-red, list countries will need to quarantine at their place of residence or other suitable place and purchase a home testing package, with coronavirus (COVID-19) tests to be taken on days 2 and 8 after arrival to support the UK’s genomic sequencing programme.

Before travelling, everyone must:

  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel
  • book and pay for a travel test package, which will include coronavirus (COVID-19) tests to be taken on day 2 and day 8 of your quarantine
  • complete a passenger locator form before arrival, with details of where you will quarantine when you arrive and the travel test package booking reference number.

Where arriving from a red list country, permitted travellers will be met on arrival in England and transported directly to their quarantine hotel. Further information is provided in what to expect in quarantine guidance. When they arrive at the managed quarantine hotel, they will be required to quarantine in their room for 10 days. You will need to explain to parents that they will need to put in place arrangements to ensure they or a guardian, or family member accompanies their child at all times, including whilst they are in quarantine. This may be a parent or guardian, or family member who has accompanied their child when travelling to England, or a different parent, guardian or family member who will need to join and stay with their child in quarantine. Where parents are unable to travel with their child or provide a guardian or family member to quarantine with their child you should advise them not to travel. The costs of isolating in a hotel will be borne by the parent and are currently set at £1,750. There are reductions for adults and children sharing a room.

Where pupils have travelled to England from a country from where travel is permitted, they are required to quarantine in their own accommodation for 10 days. You should have plans for the collection and transfer of these pupils from their point of arrival and put in place suitable arrangements for their self-isolation which may be in the school’s boarding accommodation. You may also want to consider whether the test to release scheme is appropriate for these pupils.

If you have any questions or queries, please contact the BSA Team via email or telephone.

Best wishes, 

The BSA Team
E. bsa@boarding.org.uk
T. +44 (0)207 798 1580