In March 2020, there were almost 21,600 state schools in England, educating 8.2 million pupils aged four to 19. The Department is responsible for the school system, and is ultimately accountable for securing value for money from the funding provided for schools.
On 18 March 2020, the government announced that, to help limit transmission of the COVID-19 virus, from 23 March schools would close to all pupils except vulnerable children and children of critical workers. Education for most children would therefore take place remotely at home. While schools partially re-opened in June, most children did not return to school until the start of the new school year in September.