Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the wider opening of primary schools to more pupils from today
Commenting on the wider opening of primary schools to more pupils from today, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“Our early impression is that the picture on the wider opening of primary schools is very mixed, according to a range of factors, such as different approaches by local authorities, constraints on the space available in schools to accommodate eligible pupils while implementing the safety protocols, and the availability of staff. This means some schools will not open this week, and there will be schools which are simply unable to bring in all the eligible year groups, that is reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
“Many schools which are opening this week are bringing in staff first in order to carry out training and preparation, and then phasing in eligible year groups. Caution is the watchword, and everybody is approaching this task with the safety of pupils and staff as their absolute priority.
“The expected level of pupil attendance is also highly variable, and we are hearing that it ranges anywhere between around 40 per cent and 70 per cent of the eligible pupils. It is likely this will increase as time goes on and more parents become confident about sending their children to school.
“School leaders are also reporting that they are seeing an increase in the number of key worker children who are attending across all year groups. Schools have remained open to vulnerable and key worker children throughout the lockdown period, and as the lockdown eases, it is likely this will lead to greater demand for places. This will be extremely challenging for primary schools to accommodate, particularly small primary schools, in addition to bringing in the eligible year groups.
“We are also hearing from leaders about the tremendous support they are receiving from their staff, and we would like to extend our thanks to everybody for the work they are doing at this time.”