Primaries 'ignored' in staggered January term starts

Heads and teachers ask why primary schools are being treated differently after outcry over staggered start to term
17th December 2020, 5:16pm
Catherine Lough

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Primaries 'ignored' in staggered January term starts

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/primaries-ignored-staggered-january-term-starts
Coronavirus: The Number Of Cases Among Primary Pupils Has Risen, New Data Shows

School leaders have criticised the government for ignoring primary schools in its announcement of delays to the start of term in January 2021.

The Department for Education is expected to say today that the majority of secondary school year groups will start the new term online in January with only exam year groups going into class.


Exclusive: DfE considering delay to start of next term

Related: Eleventh-hour 'shambles' on next term 'beggars belief'

Coronavirus: Secondary teachers tested weekly from January


The proposals have been criticised by unions as "shambolic" and arriving at the "eleventh hour".

But teachers and school leaders have also criticised the government for failing to acknowledge primary schools in its decision.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders' union, said: "By dropping this on schools minutes before the end of term, leaders are left with no time to implement government's instructions. Schools, pupils and parents are now left with no clear idea of what is expected of them, or what to expect next term.

"Primary schools appear to have been completely ignored in this announcement. School staff and parents of younger children are rightly worried about transmission of the virus over Christmas and will struggle to understand why they are being treated differently."

And Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: "The failure of the government to recognise the very real coronavirus risks impacting on primary and special schools is a major cause for concern".

Teachers on social media have questioned why primary schools were not included in the government's plans.

Julie Carson, an education director of a primary trust, asked whether the advice would apply to "all schools? Including primary?" with teacher Neil Almond responding with a meme: "Nobody knows".

Some said they felt primary teachers were being treated like "childcare providers" in the pandemic. 

Have the Primary sector ever felt more like childcare providers?

If the government want to protect their workforce in January, they should remove primary from the equation before Christmas. Most Secondary pupils don't require adults at home.

No strategy...again. pic.twitter.com/JHL2P15vwn

- Cassie (@ModernCassie) December 13, 2020

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