Monday, 28 Sep 2020

Gavin Williamson set to scrap primary school summer reopening target – The Sun

THE Government is watering down its pledge to give all primary school children a month back at school.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to say today he accepts not all schools will be able to hit the target.

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Ministers aimed to have all primary pupils back by June 21 — giving them four weeks before the summer break. But the pledge has been “under review” amid fears that it would not be possible to meet.

A senior government source said the Department for Education was expected to “wind back a bit” on getting all under-11s back.

They said: “Some schools don’t have enough space — we have always said we will listen to schools so we are likely to step back a bit on that. Some schools are bigger so are able to split kids up. But we understand not all will be able to do this.”

Primary schools have gradually been reopened for nursery, reception and Year One and Year Six groups. Children are placed in “protective bubbles” of no more than 15 per class to protect them from the spread of coronavirus.

But the arrangements mean headteachers have to find spare rooms or spots outside in the playground for classes. And despite opposition to reopening by teaching unions, more parents than expected are understood to be sending their children to school.

Ministers believe many schools will not be able to find enough space on site to get all their pupils in new, socially distanced classrooms.

Instead, heads will be allowed to decide what year groups to bring back and when. They will be encouraged to give all primary pupils a stint back in the classroom.

But heads may decide to do this on a rotation basis — bringing in some year groups for a fortnight and others for the following one.

Whitehall still aims to have all children back to class in September.

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