Full list of areas where primary schools will remain shut until further notice

Primary schools in 49 areas will stay shut to all but vulnerable children and children of key workers (Picture: Getty; PA)

The Government has published the list of areas where primary schools will stay closed due to rising coronavirus infection rates.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced earlier today a plan for schools to safely return following the Christmas break.

He said primary schools in Covid hotspots would not open on January 4 as planned, while the reopening of secondary schools will be delayed.

Those in Years 11 and 13 who are preparing for exams will still be first to go back, but on January 11 rather than on January 4. Other year groups at secondary level will return on January 18, rather than January 11 as had been intended under plans for a staggered start.

Mr Williamson said primary schools in a ‘small number of areas’ will not reopen for face-to-face teaching to all pupils, but did not specify where.

The Government has since published a list of 49 local authorities where primary schools will need to switch to remote learning for all but vulnerable children and those of key workers.

The areas affected are 22 boroughs of London, 11 boroughs in Essex, 9 boroughs in Kent, two in East Sussex, four in Hertfordshire, and Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.

Primary schools which will remain closed until further notice

There are 49 areas where primary schools will need to switch to remote learning for all but vulnerable children and those of key workers until at least January 18.

The local authorities where this guidance applies is:


  • 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



  • Watford
  • Broxbourne
  • Hertsmere
  • Three Rivers

Primary schools in these areas will have to stay closed until at least January 18, when coronavirus data will be reviewed.

This list includes authorities in tier four where rates of transmission are highest.

Three quarters of the country will be living under the toughest rules from tomorrow after huge swathes of the north and midlands were moved up a level.

Primary schools in those areas will stay open for now, but could be forced to close if cases continue to rise.

At a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday Boris Johnson said tougher action could be taken if the new measures don’t bring the virus under control.

Setting out the plan for schools he said: ‘The children of key workers or those who are considered to be vulnerable will still go back to primary schools from next week, wherever they live in England. They are not affected by today’s announcement. 

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‘In secondary schools, all vulnerable children and the children of critical workers will go back next week across England as originally planned. But we will ask exam year pupils in secondary schools to learn remotely during the first week of term and return to the classroom from January 11.

‘The remaining secondary school pupils, i.e. non exam groups, will go back a week later. That is from January 18.But I want to stress that depending on the spread of the disease, it may be necessary to take further action in those, in their cases as well, in, as I say, the worst affected areas.’

There has been growing concern from teaching unions and scientists about the spread of the virus following the discovery of its much more transmissible variant, with rising case rates and hospital admissions in many parts of the country.

Primary schools in Covid hotspots will stay shut until at least January 18 (Picture: Getty)

The Government announced a mass testing plan for secondary schools shortly before the Christmas break, leaving staff little time to work out how to implement the system.

On Tuesday it was announced that the armed forces will be drafted in to support coronavirus testing operations for thousands of school and college students in England. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said 1,500 military personnel would be deployed to ensure that testing systems were up and running by the time pupils returned for the new term in January.

At tonight’s press conference Mr Johnson said the testing operation would ‘minimise disruption in schools..ensuring that every secondary school pupil is tested as they return and regularly thereafter.’

On universities he added: ‘We’re also asking universities to reduce the number of students who return to campus in January, prioritising medical courses and others requiring face to face teaching. And in all cases, students should be offered two rapid tests when they return.’

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