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HUNDREDS of thousands of parents did not send their children back to school today in defiance of government plans.
The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said head teachers were reporting attendance rates of between 40-60 per cent for eligible pupils, as parents kept children at home.
And a poll by GMB union found that 80 per cent of its members did not intend to send their children back to school today.
The findings come after several members of the government’s own Sage advisory body warned against reopening primary schools to allow pupils from Reception and Years 1 and 6 to attend.
GMB national officer Karen Leonard said: “The government needs to show us the evidence – the public have wised up and demand open and honest transparency.
"School staff, parents, councils and top scientists all agree – opening schools more widely today is a risk too great.
“We still have thousands of new infections every day in the UK, and the track and trace system is nowhere near ready.
“We all want life to get back to normal as quickly as possible – but it’s not worth putting children and staff at greater risk for the government to try and get some easy headlines.
“Ministers must immediately publish data on how many pupils and staff have been tested, how PPE is made available, who is funding it and the R rates where schools have opened more widely.”
Downing Street said it expected the majority of primary schools in England to open to more children this week, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman insisting: “We have only taken this step because we believe it is safe to do so.”
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