Schools open during mourning period but may close for Queen's funeral

Schools are told to stay opening during days of national mourning but hold special assemblies and they are expected to close for day of Queen’s funeral

  • Schools have been told to ‘remain open’ during period of national mourning
  • Once date confirmed for Queen’s funeral further guidance will be issued
  • Queen’s funeral is likely to be declared as a bank holiday, according to the BBC
  • If a bank holiday is declared, schools will shut but no official confirmation yet
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

Schools and colleges are to remain opening following the death of the Queen, the Government has said.

Schools across the nation have paid tribute to Her Majesty, who died ‘peacefully’ yesterday afternoon at Balmoral, aged 96, with many holding special assemblies to commemorate her ‘extraordinary life’ of service.

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,’ according to Schools Week. 

A period of national mourning for the Queen has now commenced, which will continue until the end of the day of her state funeral.

Once the date of the funeral has been set, officials will issue schools and colleges with further guidance. 

However, until more detail has been confirmed schools and colleges ‘should remain open’.

Schools have been told to ‘remain open’ during the national period of mourning but may be told to close of the day of the Queen’s funeral. Stock image of children at school 

Education Secretary Kit Malthouse (stock image) 

‘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,’ the email said. 

The Queen’s funeral is thought to be held at Westminster Abbey in about 10 or 11 days’ time, with the date to be confirmed by Buckingham Palace.

The day is likely to be declared as a bank holiday, but this will be confirmed by the palace and Government, according to the BBC. 

If a bank holiday is declared, schools will be shut. 

The Department for Education and devolved adminstrations are set to issue advice to schools, once the details have been finalised and confirmed.  

Schools that lie within the Abbey security cordon will need to close for the period the Queen will lie in state, so learning for those students will go online, a headmaster told MailOnline. 

Meanwhile, schools around the UK have held special assemblies and lessons to commemorate the Queen on Friday morning.

It comes as schools were told they 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.’

Guidance to schools will be issued when the date of the Queen’s funeral is confirmed. Stock image of children in classroom

Advice to primary schools said they may want to adapt ‘Queen Elizabeth: A Platinum Jubilee Celebration’, the commemorative book that was sent out this year, the email added.

To support any children who are upset, officials cited MindEd as a source of information.   

The email continued: ‘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.’

Schools were also told if they wished to ‘pay their respects by flying any flags at half-mast or holding silences’ then they should follow government-issued guidance.

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, guidance states.

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