Many secondary and primary schools face delayed return to studies in worst affected areas

Proposed changes to school admissions

Many secondary and primary schools face delayed return to studies in worst affected areas

The return of many schools will be delayed despite the government’s earlier promise, the Education Secretary announced last night (Wednesday).

There had been demands for the post-Christmas return of pupils to be delayed, including pleas from teaching unions.

Scientists have also repeatedly advised that keeping schools and universities closed will dampen infection rates.

Exam year students will reportedly return on the 11th of January, with other secondary school students following a week later on the 18th of January, this enabling preparations for the mass testing of pupils and staff to take place.

Whilst the majority of primary schools will open as planned on the 4th of January, some primaries in areas with the highest rates of coronavirus will not open on that date, with no date of return set as yet and pupils in affected areas expected to learn remotely.

The Department for Education has said their return to school will be reviewed in two weeks, on the 13th of January.

This will include primaries in 22 London boroughs, which between them, boast more than half a million pupils.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, following his earlier statement, admitted the government may need to take “further action” in the worst affected areas.

Setting out a new plan in the House of Commons, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said schools up and down the country face a “rapidly changing situation”.

He told MPs:

“The 1,500 military personnel committed to supporting schools and colleges will remain on task providing virtual training and advice on establishing the testing process with teams on standby to provide in-person support if required by schools”.

“Testing will then begin the following week in earnest with those who are in exam years at the head of the queue”.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said it was the right decision to delay the reopening of schools, but he was:

“Urgently seeking clarity on why schools in some London boroughs have been chosen to stay open”.

He added:

“No one wants our children’s education to be disrupted by school closures”.

“But with the rate of infection now dangerously high in London and hospitals battling with a surge in coronavirus cases, it is the right decision to delay the reopening of London’s schools”.

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