Will school exams still go ahead in January?

THE Education Secretary announced that schools in the hardest-hit Covid hotspots will be shut until at least January 18.

But what does this mean for January exams?

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Will exams still go ahead in January?

Yes, January exams will still go ahead in schools.

This even includes schools which have extra restrictions imposed on them.

Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, said he would do "everything" to keep children in school, and the majority of primary schools will reopen on Monday, January 4.

But, in nearly 50 Tier 4 areas where infection rates are highest, all schools will have to close, including primaries, until at least January 18 – but this will be reviewed every two weeks. 

Mr Williamson confirmed that, despite the disruption, exams pencilled in for January would still go ahead. 

He told the House of Commons: “Those assessments will continue as planned in those establishments that are delivering them.

“We made the decision about the importance of those youngsters being able to continue to take those qualifications over the coming weeks.”

Expected return dates for schools

January 4: All primary schools will return as planned – except for in Covid hotspot areas which will remain closed

January 11: Secondary school kids set to sit key exams this year will return

January 18: All secondary school kids – except for Covid hotspot areas which will be reviewed regularly

Unknown – Kids in Covid hotspot areas – both primary and secondary schools don't yet have a return date

What has Gavin Williamson said about exams?

Mr Williamson confirmed that January exams will still take place – even in areas with extra restrictions.

He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "Yes – that's why we took the move to keep those children who are in those exam cohorts – those exam years, so Year 11 and Year 13 – still coming into school from January 11.

"Making sure that the first ones back into school, into secondary schools, even in those areas that have those extra restrictions that are imposed on them, those children will still be going into school, still be studying.

"They will be getting remote education from January 4 but they will going in for face-to-face teaching on January 11."  

Northern Ireland education minister Peter Weir also said that schools would have the flexibility to deliver face-to-face learning for pupils due to sit those exams if they wished.

According to the Association of Colleges, some 135,000 students are due to sit exams over the next three weeks, the TES reports.

When will schools in Tier 4 areas reopen?

Thousands of schools in 49 hardest-hit Covid areas will remain closed because of spiralling cases.

That includes most of London, Essex, Kent, and a handful of areas in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and East Sussex.

ALL schools will have to close, including primaries, in these areas.

They will stay closed until at least January 18 – but will be reviewed every two weeks.

Schools in Tier 4 areas do not have a reopening timetable – but the date is likely to be beyond January 18.

Areas where schools will close


  • Barking and Dagenham
  • Barnet
  • Bexley
  • Brent
  • Bromley
  • Croydon
  • Ealing
  • Enfield
  • Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Havering
  • Hillingdon
  • Hounslow
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Merton
  • Newham
  • Richmond-Upon-Thames
  • Southwark
  • Sutton
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Waltham Forest
  • Wandsworth
  • Westminster


  • Brentwood
  • Epping Forest
  • Castle Point
  • Basildon
  • Rochford
  • Harlow
  • Chelmsford
  • Braintree
  • Maldon
  • Southend on Sea
  • Thurrock


  • Dartford
  • Gravesham
  • Sevenoaks
  • Medway
  • Ashford
  • Maidstone
  • Tonbridge and Malling
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Swale

East Sussex

  • Hastings
  • Rother


  • Milton Keynes


  • Watford
  • Broxbourne
  • Hertsmere
  • Three Rivers


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