Close schools early, says third London council

Waltham Forest council has told its schools to move online and remain open only to vulnerable students and children of key workers
14th December 2020, 5:20pm
Claudia Civinini

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Close schools early, says third London council

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/close-schools-early-says-third-london-council
Waltham Forest Closing

Schools in Waltham Forest, North London, have been advised to finish the term early this week.

This is the third London council since yesterday afternoon defying the Department for Education's guidelines and asking schools to move online to stop the rise of Covid infections.


Related: Close schools tonight to stop Covid, says London mayor

Greenwich: Council asks schools to close by end of Monday

Islington: Second London council tells schools to go online


Clare Coghill, leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: "The situation in Waltham Forest is very serious and the government has said from Wednesday London will move into Tier 3.

"This is a critical time and we believe that we need decisive action to control the spread of the virus in Waltham Forest.

"We have been speaking with primary and secondary school headteachers, and teachers' unions across the borough. With their support, we are recommending that all schools move to online learning and only remain open for key worker and vulnerable children.

"We think that this should be done as soon as possible in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

"Each individual school will make their own decision and will contact parents to make arrangements for children's continued learning this week.

"This is not a decision any school will take lightly, and we recognise the disruption this will cause children and their parents and guardians.

"I believe that this emergency action is needed at this time because of the high level of infection rates alongside the time of the year where we know that people are planning to get together under the government's Christmas guidelines. This makes the risk of infection particularly high.

The government has maintained its original position and is urging schools to remain open. 

The prime minister's official spokesman said today: "We've consistently said that not being in school has a detrimental impact on children's learning as well as their own personal development and mental health.

"Which is why we expect all schools and colleges to remain open until the end of term on Thursday, as schools have remained open throughout the pandemic."

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