Coronavirus: What will next week bring for our schools?

Schools opening for key workers' children on Monday expecting vastly varying numbers, as one MAT says it has no choice but to go against PM's advice

some schools completely shut

While the majority of schools will stay open this Monday, there will be vastly differing rates of attendance from school to school, Tes understands.

One primary in London was expecting to be “very busy” because a majority of pupils' families fitted the key worker criteria, according to teacher Calvin Robinson.

He said: “Hopefully there'll be a relatively high number of teaching staff to match. Schools may have to start relying on volunteers at some point. But only people with a DRB. Safeguarding doesn't take a back seat during a crisis.”

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In Kent an academy trust running eight primaries is reported to be going against government guidance by stating both parents must be key workers if a child is attend a school from next week. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said that schools would remain open to pupils with "at least one parent or carer identified as a critical worker by the government".

But Stour Academy Trust chief executive Simon O'Keefe has reportedly written to parents, saying: "We have been forced to make the decision that both parents will need to be key workers to be eligible for school attendance.

"We are aware that this contradicts the government guidance but this measure is necessary to avoid full school closure.

"We calculated that due to the number of staff self-isolating and staff who are vulnerable we will be running on a skeleton staff, so we must limit numbers in order to remain safe."

Meanwhile, a school in Greater Manchester has highlighted concerns over "non-essential requests" from parents asking to send their children to school next week.

The head of St Andrew's CE Primary School, in Boothstown, sent a letter to parents stating it had "received a lot more requests than anticipated" and asked all parents to reflect on their requests and reconsider whether their work was critical to the Covid-19 response.

“I need to remind parents that the government have closed schools as a national emergency response…School will only be open to keep some children safe and well for a small minority of front line workers.”

However, in Oldham, at Greenacres Primary Academy, key stage 2 leader Tim Roach told Tes the school was expecting “very few numbers” and said the other two schools in his trust would be “completely closed.”

He said: “The open school will have up to nine staff a day, not teaching as such but providing childcare. I’m presuming we won’t use all the rooms either. People will not be on their own as there will probably be some challenging behaviour, especially if children are left 8am to 5pm.”

Oldham Athletic football club were providing coaching three afternoons each week, he said.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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