Four-Step Plan to Ease UK Lockdown
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the UK’s roadmap to recovery from Covid-19. What does this mean for those wanting to study abroad in England during 2021?
The UK Government has set out plans to lift the majority of Covid restrictions by 21 June, but says that progress will be led by the scientific data, not deadlines. The first step out of lockdown will be the return to face-to-face education in schools and colleges, on 8 March.
Returning to face-to-face education in schools is a national priority
UK Vaccination Success
Mass vaccination is fundamental to the UK Government’s strategy, and thankfully the programme has been hugely successful so far. Having achieved their first major deadline, the Government is on track to meet the next target of offering a first dose of the vaccine to everyone over 50, by 15 April. The end goal is to offer all adults their first dose by 31 July, while offering second doses no more than 12 weeks after the first dose.
Steps to lifting Covid restrictions
The step-by-step plan aims to ease restrictions in England, cautiously. Before taking each step, there will be a review of the latest data to determine whether it is appropriate to proceed. The main steps from the plan that impact on international education are excerpted below:
As above, UK borders will remained closed until at least May 17. The Government has set up a ‘Global Travel Taskforce’ in collaboration with the UK travel sector, which will report back on 12 April. Following this, they will make a decision as to whether international travel should resume in May. This decision will be dependent on the global epidemiological picture, any new variants of concern, and the progress of vaccine rollouts both in the UK and around the world.
Border Restrictions in England until 17 May
The current travel restrictions will also remain in place until mid-May to protect against new cases and variants. The full information can be found here, but includes providing proof of a negative test result before departure, and isolating for 10 days on arrival. This can be shortened to five days with proof of a negative test result on days two, five and eight, after arrival in the UK, via the Test to Release Scheme. Foreign travellers are not allowed into the country from so-called Red List Countries that pose a higher risk.
Studying Abroad during 2021
So what does this mean for those wanting to study abroad during 2021? The challenges certainly remain for now, but the recovery feels closer. Joining the Summer Term at Highfield & Brookham, at least at the start, will continue to mean quarantining before arrival, regular in-school testing, mask wearing, and other social distancing and hygiene measures. But we’ve been doing this for months now and have lots of experience of running boarding successfully in a Covid safe environment, and there’s the 175 acre grounds to enjoy – at their most spectacular during the Summer Term. The success of the Government’s plan could also mean a return to a very exciting Autumn Term ahead.
What about Summer Courses in the UK this year? The Government’s aim to remove the majority of Covid restrictions by 21 June would mean that all summer programmes would be back in full swing, including our own Highfield Summer School - a very exciting prospect! We continue to make plans for the 2021 summer course, and are grateful for the confidence parents and agents have shown as they continue to make bookings. In turn, our Covid Guarantee offers the reassurance of full refunds if they are unable to attend.
Perhaps never before has our human interdependence been more evident than during this Covid crisis, when the health of every country depends on that of the rest of the world. The most likely outcome is that we will live with Covid for the long term, in some more manageable way, while relying on global response and collaboration. Never has international experience and education been more important for preparing our children for the global future that awaits them.
About Highfield School
Highfield enjoys outstanding academic success and has been preparing children for the most eminent Senior Schools in England for more than a century. Highfield is a co-educational school for children aged 8-13, located in beautiful 175 acre grounds in Liphook, Hampshire, less than an hour from Heathrow Airport. Find out more.
If you are considering a UK boarding school or summer course for your child, do get in touch! Email Caroline at: email@example.com