SCHOOLS and colleges across Gwent are preparing to open for a select group of pupils from today as measures to limit the spread of coronavirus ramp up.

Last Wednesday the Welsh Government’s minister for education Kirsty Williams announced that schools would shut from the end of last week for all pupils, except the vulnerable and those whose parents are “key workers”.

This includes workers in health and social care, education, childcare, local and national government, food and other necessary goods, public safety and national security, transport, utilities and financial services.


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It also includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the dead and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

So what does this mean for education in Wales?

Childcare arrangements

A selection of schools across each of the five local authority areas will act as childcare hubs for the vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.

Work for students will be provided via an online platform until further notice. It is not yet clear how long these measures will be in place.

While the details still being hashed out, Monmouthshire has said that nine schools will be open for eligible pupils, while Caerphilly will open five.

Caerphilly said they are expecting the five schools to cater for more than 1,100 pupils.

Newport’s details are shown in detail here, while updates for Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent had not been released as the Argus went to press last night.

GCSE and A-level exams

The school closures have led to the Welsh and UK governments to cancel all A-Level and GCSE exams scheduled for the summer.

The chief executive of WJEC, the organisation providing exams and educational resources to schools and colleges in Wales, Ian Morgan has issued a statement to reassure pupils, parents and staff that teacher assessment grades will form the basis of students’ grades.

Mr Morgan said: “Qualifications Wales has clearly outlined that teacher assessed grades must be based on the overall qualification grade each learner is likely to achieve at the end of their course of study, based on their performance on a range of classroom and external assessments and on their overall commitment to their studies and ability in the subject.”

Further details on this and on those students who were due to take AS-levels or GCSE unit exams in the summer will be released in the coming weeks.

Coleg Gwent, along with schools will be closed from today, with students working remotely.

There will be no face-to-face teaching, work for students will be accessible via the online portal.


In an update on its website, Coleg Gwent says: “We understand there will be no change to vocational assessments except where students have external exams and we are awaiting further instructions.”

Part-time courses, which were due to start between now and the end of April, have been cancelled.

While the Welsh Government has made an announcement regarding schools and colleges, this doesn’t appear to apply to nurseries.

Most nurseries across Gwent remain open, particularly for the children of key workers.

However, this is an ever-changing situation and each nursery will be taking its own decision on the matter.

The University of South Wales (USW) has suspended face-to-face teaching, with students expected to be taught online until “at least Easter”.

This will be enforced in force at every USW campus – in Newport, Cardiff, and Pontypridd (Treforest and Glyntaff).

Students living on campus are still awaiting further advice, while international students have been told they can go home.