Children in Kingston-upon-Thames woke up to a new lockdown last week as their school gates were slammed shut by a third national shutdown.

Some primary schools were closed just one day after they opened for the beginning of Spring term.

While some pupils will have cheered the chance to stay at home, many for whom trying to learn at home is difficult at best will feel their spirits sinking at the prospect of weeks at home struggling with technology, no face-to-face teaching and no chance to spend time with their friends inside and outside of the classroom.

All children across England except the vulnerable and those of key workers must now stay at home, just as they did for several months last year. The question is how many children of my generation will find they are set back by months or even years in their learning, and how much with their mental health be damaged by long days of isolation from their peers?

This situation is also extremely difficult for working parents of primary school children because they will not be able to go to work, since children under 11 need to be looked after at home.

All these concerns of course must be set against the dangers of the new spike in Covid-19 cases, and the fear that a new strain of the virus could be more contagious among children.

Kingston Council leader Caroline Kerr supported the closing of local school and said she was ‘dismayed’ by the government’s handling of the situation.

Meanwhile, Kingston Council in a statement said: ‘It never made sense that neighbouring boroughs were being instructed to have different arrangements despite having similar rates of infection.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the situation in London had continued to worsen all week. He added: ‘While our priority is to keep as many children as possible in school, we have to strike a balance between education and infection rates.’

So for now, everyone is making the best of a bad situation, with head teachers across the Royal Borough forced to make rapid plans for home learning once more, as well as accommodating in school the children of key workers. And all the while, the question on everyone’s lips is: when will it ever end?