'Worrying time' for parents over school reopening plans - Northumberland council and education chiefs awaiting further information and guidance

Council chiefs are working with headteachers ‘to determine what the reopening of schools might look like in Northumberland’.

By Ben O'Connell
Monday, 18th May 2020, 1:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 12:18 am
File picture by Barry Batchelor/PA Wire
File picture by Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Earlier in May, the Prime Minister announced plans for a phased reopening of English schools from June 1 ‘at the earliest’, beginning with primary schools – Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 first.

Setting out the plans as part of the Government’s ‘roadmap’ to recovery, the Department for Education confirmed that the reopening was dependent on the coronavirus transmission rate remaining at an acceptable level (a measure known as R being less than one).

Sign up to our daily newsletter

However, while schools and childcare providers have been asked to plan on the basis of a June 1 restart, ahead of confirmation of the scientific advice, local authorities in Liverpool and Hartlepool have already said they will not reopen schools on that date. Meanwhile, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – with devolved education systems – have all indicated that June 1 is likely to be too soon.

Northumberland County Council’s executive director of adults and children’s services, Cath McEvoy-Carr, said: “Keeping pupils and staff safe in schools is our top priority.

“We are reviewing the information provided by the Government and will be working with headteachers in schools across the county to determine what this might look like in Northumberland.

“We await further guidance and information as to how this will be progressed.”

Coun Wayne Daley, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services, added: “We know this is a worrying time for everyone and parents may be especially concerned about their children returning to school.

“We will be working closely with schools in the planning of any targeted reopening and will do everything we can to support children and their families.

“Schools in Northumberland have been doing an amazing job in supporting families over the last few weeks and we appreciate the selfless dedication that the staff show every day.”

“While we recognise the importance of schools reopening, we want to be absolutely clear that we will be taking a measured and cautious approach to this,’ a statement added.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you