SCHOOL and college students in Wales will continue to learn online until February half term - at the earliest.

This is unless significant change in the coronavirus situation is flagged up at the next government review, education minister Kirsty Williams has said.

This morning first minister Mark Drakeford said that Wales would remain under Alert Level Four lockdown until at least the end of January.

The Welsh Government's education minister Ms Williams said, in a statement released on social media this morning ahead of the scheduled update from the first minister later today, that education would be brought into line with the three-week coronavirus review pattern.


"That means we will review the situation on January 29," she said.

"Remote learning will continue until at least then.

"Unless we see a significant reduction in transmission before January 29, then remote learning would have to continue until the next review date. "This coincides with the February half term."

Ms Williams said that vulnerable children and those children of critical workers would still have access to their school or college.

There will also be moves to implement a phased return of more pupils, according to the education minister.

This would, she said, include students studying for qualifications or the youngest pupils who find distance learning the most challenging.

"We're taking this action today because this new variant is more infectious," she said.

"Schools and colleges have been safe and secure environments throughout the pandemic and that continues to be the case.

"Times are hard, but this pandemic will end.

"Our wonderful schools and colleges will soon be full of the sound of happy learners."