Stockport delays return to school

20 May 2020 09:58
Published by: Scott Callan

Schools in Stockport will not re-open on June 1 after the local authority rejected the government’s timetable for some pupils to return to the classroom.

In a statement Stockport Council has said that its schools will not open their doors until June 10 at the earliest.

It has sent a letter to parents and carers to outline how it is responding to the government’s roadmap to school re-openings, which suggested a June 1 return for some children.

Signed by Cllr Colin Foster, lead member for children and education services and Chris McLoughlin, director of children’s services, it says: “We are working with senior leaders to ensure that the classrooms and learning spaces are organised to reflect the safety advice within the guidance documents and current statutory provision.

“As you will appreciate, every school and early years setting is different and will have conflicting pressures and expectations.

“We are working alongside senior leaders from across the sector to enable them to make local decisions as they arrive at a plan that is both safe and looks to meet the government’s ambition to begin to bring more children back into school over time.

“As a local area we are clear that our leaders need time to think through these plans carefully in order that they can support pupil and staff safety. It is for this reason that we will begin to extend our provision in Stockport no earlier than 8 June.

“Primary schools will begin their work with two training days on 8 and 9 June, without any children, to allow the staff to meet together for the first time since the start of Covid-19 in March.

“This time will allow staff teams to be appropriately trained and prepared in how to manage the new ‘way of working’ safely. As you will appreciate this will then enable them to be better prepared to provide a safe environment for your children as they return.”

The letter adds: “Over the coming days, educational leaders will begin to communicate their local plans with you. It is highly likely that there will be a great deal of variation between the plans of individual schools and early years settings. We would ask you to respect this.

“Decisions are being made purely to support the safest return for your children. We also need for you to be aware that these plans may need to change and these changes may happen quickly if illness or further guidance requires.

“None of us know how the coronavirus outbreak could develop in Stockport and beyond so we are asking that schools and settings keep their plans under constant review to ensure that children, families and staff within schools stay safe.

“Please be assured that we will do everything in Stockport, as a local area, to enable our children to return to school as quickly as we can. Our overriding principle is to ensure that the extension of our provision is as safe as it can be. We thank you for your patience.”

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