Council backs down on closing schools after DfE order

Royal Greenwich Council had asked all schools to move online because of concerns about a surge in Covid
15th December 2020, 11:19am
John Roberts

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Council backs down on closing schools after DfE order

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/council-backs-down-closing-schools-after-dfe-order
Royal Greenwich Council Has Backed Down After Getting A Legal Order Not To Ask Schools To Close This Week.

A London council that asked all schools to move online from today over Covid concerns has backed down after being given a legal direction to do so by the education secretary.

Royal Greenwich Council's leader, Danny Thorpe, said he did not think keeping schools open was the right decision but could not commit public funds to fighting the Department for Education in court.

The council had asked schools to move to remote learning from today after "an exponential" rise in coronavirus cases.

However, last night Gavin Williamson issued a legal direction demanding that the council withdraw the letter asking schools to close. 

Cllr Thorpe said: "Yesterday, the Council received a directive from the government that schools in the borough must remain fully open until the end of term.

"With Covid-19 cases rising rapidly in the borough, I cannot agree that this is the correct choice for our schools.

"However, I also cannot justify the use of public funds to fight the decision in the courts. Consequently, I have no choice but to ask our schools to keep their doors open to all students rather than just continuing with online learning.

"From the start of this pandemic, both myself and the whole council have worked tirelessly to support our whole school community. The action we took on Sunday was based solely on doing the right thing for our borough, not a protracted legal argument with the government, which absolutely nobody needs at the end of an extremely difficult term.

"The council has issued the following response to the government, which outlines our serious concerns about forcing our students to attend school in person and our intention to reluctantly comply with the secretary of state's directive."

 

 

Following the Government's legal direction, here is an open letter to families in #greenwich. My main priority has always been children & families across @Royal_Greenwich not a courtroom battle with the Government, and I acted based on data that shows rising cases of #covid19 pic.twitter.com/75N6n00OU9

- Dan Thorpe (@DanLThorpe) December 15, 2020

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