New school opening delay plan is 'sensible', say heads

But there is frustration that a plan 'clearly under discussion for days' has not been communicated to schools yet
29th December 2020, 2:43pm
Amy Gibbons

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New school opening delay plan is 'sensible', say heads

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/new-school-opening-delay-plan-sensible-say-heads
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Government plans to push back secondary school return dates by at least an extra week would be a "pretty sensible and prudent approach", heads have said.

But school leaders say learning of the decision in "dribs and drabs of information gleaned by the media", rather than directly from the government, has been "very frustrating".

Tes revealed today that under a revised re-opening scheme Year 11 and Year 13 exam students will not return to school from Monday 4 January as had been intended, but instead will receive remote education.


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Next week would see secondaries open only to vulnerable students or children of key workers, giving schools more room to set up mass testing.

The following week beginning 11 January would see testing start. Year 11 and 13 students would be given priority for the tests that would then allow them to start returning to school that week.

All secondary students would be due back in schools for lessons from the week of 18 January, and primary schools would open from 4 January as normal.

Tes understands the plan has yet to have final Downing Street approval but may be unveiled tomorrow.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said, if finalised, the plans would be "pretty sensible", but schools urgently need "clear guidance". 

"If these are the finalised plans this would seem a pretty sensible and prudent approach given the rising incidence of Covid rates and the new strain of the virus," he said.

"What is vital is that schools are given clear guidance as soon as possible so they can make the necessary arrangements.

"It is really very frustrating that this has clearly been under discussion for days and we are learning about what may or may not happen through dribs and drabs of information gleaned by the media."

Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers' union, said: "Schools, pupils and parents are facing continued and unnecessary uncertainty which could and should have been avoided.

"Ensuring that all schools have clarity is essential, as is the need for additional measures to ensure safety in every school in the face of increased levels of virus transmission."

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