Covid: DfE claims MAT backing down on ending term early

But Focus Trust tell Tes discussions are still ongoing after department objected to its plan to break up early for Christmas because of rising Covid cases.
23rd November 2020, 12:32pm

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Covid: DfE claims MAT backing down on ending term early

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/covid-dfe-claims-mat-backing-down-ending-term-early
School Closure

The Department for Education has said that a multi academy trust which had planned to close early for Christmas has now rescinded the decision.

However Focus Trust has said that it is still "consulting internally" after the DfE asked it review its plans.

The trust, which runs 15 schools in the North of England, announced last week that it was to close its schools early after rising cases of Covid in the communities it serves.


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The DfE said today that the trust had now informed it that this decision had been rescinded.

However, a spokesperson for Focus Trust said: "The trust are still consulting internally regarding the DfE position, and any subsequent changes that may have to be made to the proposed plans."

Last week, Focus Trust announced that its schools will be breaking up for Christmas a week early to safeguard staff and pupils and "protect precious family time together".

The Focus Trust said it has taken the decision because of growing concern that staff and pupils would be forced to self-isolate during the traditional two-week holiday period as coronavirus cases in some of its communities were growing "significantly."

It warned that it had already had to close "bubble groups" in 13 of its 15 primary schools and had more than a quarter of its pupils and a third of its staff self-isolating.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: "The best place for children to be is in schools, which is why it remains a national priority to keep them open full time and avoid further disruption to education.

 "I know this is a challenging time but the latest data shows only 0.2 per cent of pupils were off school isolating with a confirmed case of coronavirus. Closing early for Christmas or extending the holidays is not the answer.

 "The chief medical officer has been clear that schools should remain open and has highlighted the damage caused by not being in education to children's education, development and mental health, which greatly outweighs any other risks. Children are at very low risk from the virus, and staff are not at higher risk than those working in other sectors."

 

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