Primary schools could be allowed to reopen as soon as June 1 as part of Boris Johnson’s ‘comprehensive plan’ to ease the UK’s lockdown.
The Prime Minister is expected to set out the Government’s roadmap for gradually lifting the restrictions by the end of next week, which is set to include a ‘phased’ reopening of schools.
Despite officials announcing the UK is now past the peak of infections, it has been hinted that the nationwide lockdown could continue into June. But as part of the plans to start easing the restrictions, some children may be allowed back to school sooner than others.
Primary school pupils are set to be the first to return as it is thought that young children suffer less severe complications from Covid-19, while secondary school pupils will return at a later date.
The PM told The Sun on Sunday he wants primary schools opened ‘as fast as we can,’ adding: ‘That’s where we want to go. It’s about working out a way to do it.’
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Officials said getting kids back into classrooms are a ‘top priority’ in the timetable to ‘unlock’ the UK and reports suggest primary schools could be given notice as soon as this week, if infection rates continue to drop.
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Whitehall sources told The Telegraph the PM is hoping to give UK teachers three weeks’ notice to reopen to all primary schools to students on June 1.
This date could be pushed back if infection rates do not continue to fall and it is not deemed safe to send pupils back to class.
However, sources told The Sun that it was ‘far too early’ to pencil in a date, adding: ‘Schools will be out for a little longer yet but they’re definitely a top priority.’
Reports suggest the Government wants to get children back in the classroom as soon as it’s safe to do so in a bid to reduce damage to ‘early years development’. Class sizes are set to be limited for a temporary period.
Meanwhile, secondary school students from Year 10 and 12 will return at a later date when officials are confident that it would not cause a second wave of infections.
Older students are able to complete more work online than younger pupils and are not considered ‘as pressing’.
Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman said there is a ‘great deal of logic’ in targeting younger children to return to the classroom.
She told Sophy Ridge On Sunday that ‘normality’ for younger children is important, saying that the younger they are ‘the more they need routine’.
From parents’ point of view it is logical for younger pupils to be in school she added, as they tend to need more ‘care and oversight’.
Ms Spielman also suggested that there could be a ‘mixed economy’ for ‘some while’ with some youngsters in school and others still learning at home.
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