SCHOOLS could reopen to kids in primaries and key exam years first under options being considered by ministers.
While schools in parts of the country where infection rates are lower may also reopen ahead of those in Covid hotspots.
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The proposals are being considered as part of a “phased return” of millions of kids back to the classroom.
Boris Johnson is desperate to try to stave off a growing cross-party revolt over the national schools closure.
And while he refused to guarantee kids will be back to class before Easter, it is understood the Government is looking at “all options” to reopen the classroom.
Whitehall insiders insisted schools will be “the first” thing to reopen when lockdown is eased.
But they stressed the final decision will lie with the scientists, and it all comes down to getting Covid infection rates, hospitalisations and deaths low enough.
One option would be to reopen schools for primary school kids first because it is so much harder for them to work from home at Zoom.
Teachers also point out that young kids are less likely to catch and get sick from Covid.
The Department for Education is also considering partially reopening secondary schools so that kids in Year 10 and Year 12 – who have exams next year – go back first.
While they could reopen schools everywhere apart from in Covid hotspots as part of a staggered return to the classroom
The PM is facing growing fury over the national school shutdown from stressed-out parents, teachers, and MPs across the political spectrum.
They are demanding No10 come up with a roadmap detailing how schools can reopen.
What are the options for reopening schools?
- Open all schools across England at the same time. If this is possible, education bosses in Whitehall are keen to do it.
- Keep schools in Covid hotspots closed, but reopen them everywhere else. This is something ministers are definitely considering and already have the power to do under the Contingency Framework they drew up when they planned to reopen schools in the New Year.
- Reopen primaries first. This is backed by many teachers, who point out that it is far harder to teach young kids at home over Zoom.
- Secondary schools could reopen to Years 10 and 12 first as they are taking exams next year. Ministers adopted this approach when they reopened schools in June last year following the first shut down.
A poll from Mumsnet out yesterday revealed that 62 per cent of parents want kids in primaries and exam years to return to school after the February half term.
While 75 per cent said lockdown had harmed their kids’ education, and 78 per cent said it had hurt their mental health.
Some 1,002 parents were quizzed for the study.
Geoff Barton, boss of the Association of School and College Leaders, told The Sun: “We definitely need a plan and the plan has to be predicated on what the science says.
“What the science is likely to say, I think, is that you probably don’t want to do what they did in September which is to suddenly open up the floodgates and everyone goes back into school.
“If we can have some more pupils in then I think there is an argument, educationally, that those youngest pupils who need to get into the rhythms and routines and are at less risk of transmission of the virus, there would be a logic to let’s bring them in first.”
Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said: “They could make it a lot simpler for themselves by setting out a clear plan, a roadmap if you like, of how those decisions are going to be made and when.
“I have had teacher representatives and councils tell me over the last week that they think this is doable.
“Not all children and not all the time – but to phase children back in, possibly starting with primary schools where infection rates are likely to be less.
“If they have that confidence to be able to do it, I don’t want others to not seize that opportunity
“Ultimately, children need to get back in school as soon as possible – it needs to be safe but it needs to be planned.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is being hauled to the House of Commons today to be grilled by MPs on his roadmap for unlocking schools.
He is braced to get a hammering from all sides, as Tory backbenchers unite with Labour to demand more details on how schools will be reopened.
He is expected to tell teachers within days if schools will stay physically open over the February half term for key worker and vulnerable kids.
He has promised to give families two weeks notice before the reopening of schools.
And in a bid to quell mounting fury from MPs and parents, the Prime Minister said they “must not assume” kids will not be back in School before Easter.
Boris Johnson said he hopes to begin easing lockdown in three weeks time – starting with some kids back in classrooms outside Covid hotspots.
The Sun can reveal schools could reopen to kids in primaries and key exam years first under “phased return” plans being drawn up by ministers.
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In a bid to quell mounting fury from MPs and parents, the Prime Minister said “must not assume” kids will not be back in school before Easter.
In a major boost for banged up Brits and the pummelled economy, Mr Johnson said he was “looking at the potential of relaxing some measures” ahead of the 15 February deadline to vaccinate the most vulnerable – if the death data permits.
And kids are top of the list – with parents promised two weeks notice if their children are to go back.
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