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Headteacher tells parents 'you can keep your kids at home' as primary schools defy orders to reopen tomorrow

A HEADTEACHER has told parents they can keep their kids at home – as primary schools defy Government orders to reopen tomorrow.

Schools concerned over rising coronavirus cases have decided to keep the gates closed to pupils on Monday, despite being on the list to reopen.

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Gil Denham, head of Marish Academy Trust in Slough, told parents she couldn't guarantee pupils or staff wouldn't be exposed to Covid.

Berkshire Live reports she wrote: "As a parent and grandparent myself, if I feel that the risk of my child or someone else in my family contracting Covid-19 is too high, if they attend school from Monday, I would keep them at home.

"It may be that this is the decision some of you come to for your own families. Rest assured, online learning will be provided for all those pupils who do not attend in person."

Berkshire Council later released a statement saying it would support any primary school's decision to close, joining Norfolk, Greater Manchester and Southampton's leaders in letting schools make the call.

It comes after Brighton and Hove City Council advised primary schools not to open, going against the Department for Education directives.

Today Cumbria's local director of public health and Kent's council leader wrote to the Government, begging to be allowed to keep their primary schools closed.

Essex County Council released a statement this afternoon announcing North Essex Primary Schools would be remote learning only, while a number of schools in Derbyshire, Merseyside and Nottinghamshire decided not to open over Covid fears.

Parents are in limbo, wondering if they should send their children to school or if a change could come overnight.

SCHOOLS CHAOS

Children have already lost months of classroom education, having been off for weeks during the first lockdown – with the Government now desperate to disrupt their learning as little as possible.

On Friday night, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced primary schools in London would stay closed in a U-turn, days after officials said much of the provision for younger pupils wouldn't be affected.

Following this a teachers' union launched legal action against the Government demanding all schools shut.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, urged ministers to "do their duty" and shut all primary and secondary schools to stem the tide of a mutant coronavirus strain.

Experts have argued teachers should be prioritised for the Covid vaccine to keep England’s schools open, amid the growing rebellion.

Earlier today Boris Johnson told parents schools are safe, saying "the threat to young people is very, very small, the risk to staff is very small".

Today on the Andrew Marr Show the PM said: "I understand people's frustrations, I understand people's anxieties, but there is no doubt in my mind schools are safe."

As a parent and grandparent myself, if I feel that the risk of my child or someone else in my family contracting Covid-19 is too high, if they attend school from Monday, I would keep them at home.

He told parents to send their kids back to primary schools tomorrow "in areas where schools are open".

Children are meant to return to class tomorrow, but unions are trying to force schools to stay shut – and SAGE experts have said pupils might not fully return to lessons until February.

Adviser Professor Mark Walport said: "It's transmitted more readily in younger age groups as well. It is going to be very difficult to keep it under control without much tighter social restrictions.

"We know that a person between 12 and 16 is seven times more likely than others in a household to bring the infection into a household."

Primaries across Covid hotspots across London and the South East will stay shut for most kids for at least another two weeks – and could stay closed longer if their infection rates do not come down.

They will open for the kids of key workers, and vulnerable children.

A staggering 1.05 million primary kids will have to be home-schooled because of the shutdown.

It comes as Ofsted's chief inspector warned that youngsters are being failed by yet more closures following the lockdown in spring.

Amanda Spielman said kids' time outside of class should be kept to the "absolute minimum" as militant unions join forces to keep schools shut.

The PM hinted tougher national restrictions may be introduced above Tier 4, saying: "It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in many parts of the country. I'm fully, fully reconciled to that."

 

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