Schools should stay open during Queen’s national mourning, government says

Should The Queen's funeral be designated a bank holiday, it's thought likely schools could close for the day - but no decision has been made

Should The Queen's funeral be designated a bank holiday, it's thought likely schools could close for the day - but no decision has been made

Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by schoolchildren at Guernsey Airport at the start of a two day state visit to the Channel Islands

Schools and colleges should remain open following the death of Queen Elizabeth, the government said this evening.

The schools community has paid tribute to the Queen’s “dedication to public service” after it was announced she has died at the age of 96.

In an email to schools, the Department for Education said: “We have now entered a period of national mourning that will continue until the end of the State Funeral.

“Guidance providing the public, businesses and institutions with advice on the period of national mourning following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be issued by the Cabinet Office and available on GOV.UK.”

Once details of the funeral are confirmed, officials will contact schools again with further guidance.

It is thought the funeral will be on Monday September 19, but no decision has been made. The King will decide whether the funeral is a bank holiday. If so, it is thought likely that schools would close.

In the meantime, the department said schools and colleges “should remain open”.

“Whilst normal attendance is expected, headteachers continue to have the power to authorise leaves of absence for pupils in exceptional circumstances.

“Any requests for leave of absence should be considered on a case-by-case basis taking into account individual circumstances.”

Consider special assemblies

Schools may want to “consider conducting special activities, holding assemblies or adapting planned lessons to reflect the period of national mourning and commemorate the life of Her Majesty may wish to repurpose the lesson materials about the Queen’s Jubilee produced by Royal Collections Trust and The National Archives”.

Primary schools may also wish to adapt ‘Queen Elizabeth: A Platinum Jubilee Celebration’, the commemorative book distributed to primary schools this year, the email added.

Officials cite Minded as a source of information to support upset children.

The email adds: “We know teachers, lecturers, early years colleagues and social workers around the country have an important role to play in reassuring children and young people at this difficult time.”

Any schools wishing to “pay their respects by flying any flags at half-mast or holding silences” should follow government guidance.

The guidance states that official flags, including the Union Flag, should be half-masted from as soon as possible today until 8am the day following The Queen’s State Funeral.

You can also visit the Palace’s website for more information about the mourning period.

On Friday, Ofsted said it will pause publishing reports during the mourning period but inspections will continue.

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