Trafford Council has said that the government’s recommended June 1st reopening date for primary schools is “premature” – and says it is planning instead to allow children to return from Wednesday June 10th.
The government is lifting the coronavirus lockdown on schools on June 1st, and has asked all primary schools to open for children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Secondary schools, sixth forms and further education colleges will also begin some face to face support with Year 10 and Year 12 pupils.
But Trafford has this morning joined the growing list of local authorities who say they are not forcing primary schools in the borough to follow the plan.
A letter sent to parents and carers by Jill McGregor, Corporate Director, Children’s Services at the council, said that parents “should make the decision that is right for you and your family”.
She said: “We believe that 1st June is premature and we will continue to be guided by the science as everyone’s safety, health and well-being is of the utmost importance.
“Although schools will continue to remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children in all year groups, some of you will rightly remain concerned about the safety of your children and your families if your children do return to school.
“Therefore, we will enable schools, where possible to re-open on 8th June following the half term break and have a further two days to plan, prepare and train their staff to in advance of children attending on 10th June.”
She said that secondary schools will be able to return on 1st June as “their half term is typically shorter”, but that they could also take a further two days to plan and prepare staff if necessary.
And she added that parents will not be fined for their children’s non-attendance if they decide not to take up the option to return to school.
Headteachers and governing bodies were working “tirelessly” in response to the government’s recent guidance, she added, and risk assessment and logistical planning was taking place.
McGregor said: “Trafford Council is actively supporting all schools and their leaders in working through the very complex planning that this requires.
“We would want to assure you that everyone’s health and safety is of paramount consideration and that all school leaders are committed to this as well as continuing to support our children’s learning and education.”