Message to all education, children’s social care and childcare leaders from the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi

11 February 2022

I write to you today to express my sincere gratitude for the work you have done to protect face to face education, and to support our children and young people. Thanks to your hard work and dedication, almost all education and childcare settings are fully open, and children’s social care services in local areas have remained resilient. I am grateful for your continued efforts to ensure attendance levels are as high as possible given the vital importance of regular attendance to education and wider wellbeing.

I recognise that while thankfully COVID-19 rates are falling nationally the situation remains challenging for many settings and your staff. Despite that, you have done your utmost for those in your care, particularly supporting the most vulnerable.

Ultimately, vaccinations are our best defence against COVID-19, so thank you to everyone in HE, FE, schools, and local authorities who has supported the vaccination programme for children and young people so far.

On 9 February, the Prime Minister announced that should the encouraging trends in the epidemiological data continue we expect to remove any remaining restrictions one month earlier than planned. This would be a positive step towards our long-term national strategy for living with COVID-19 as we live with other viruses. I want to do everything I can to ensure that education and childcare settings, and children’s social care services, are able to focus as much as possible on their core business of teaching, learning and care. We will set out in more detail what our plans for living with COVID-19 mean for settings in due course.

I know that the incredible efforts that you continue to go to will help us to keep education and childcare settings, and wider services open. Once again, my minsters and I would like to thank each and every one of you for everything that you do.

The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP
Secretary of State for Education