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Two in five schools defied government order to reopen

NEARLY HALF of primary schools in England defied government orders to open their doors to more children on Monday, the National Education Union (NEU) found today.

A poll by the union found large regional differences on the number of schools reopening to pupils in reception, year one and year six.

Overall, 44 per cent of primary schools did not admit more children on June 1, but in north-west England only 8 per cent of schools opened to all priority year-groups, according to the NEU survey.

Joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “It was always reckless of [Prime Minister] Boris Johnson to set an arbitrary date and expect schools to fall in line. 

“Heads and their staff know far more about their individual challenges than Whitehall ever will.

“As the regional variation according to coronavirus levels shows, schools are listening to the science rather than politicians.”

Mr Courtney said the disconnect should be a wake-up call for government. 

He said: “Not only is the safety of the government’s plan in question but also the feasibility of it and confidence of headteachers in what the Prime Minister requested. 

“The Prime Minister should now act to ensure that education unions are involved in the planning of further steps as they are in Scotland and Wales.”

The NEU and scientists from the alternative Independent Sage Committee believe that it would be safer for schools to delay the wider opening of schools until after mid-June, when the number of new cases per day should be lower and the system of testing, tracking and isolation of new cases is bedded in.

Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced today that all schools in Wales will reopen on June 29 for four weeks to help parents, pupils and staff prepare for a “new normal.”



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