ASCL comment on the reopening of schools

10/05/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the Prime Minister’s speech and the phased reopening of schools.
 
 
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech and the phased reopening of schools, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

We are concerned about the idea of reopening primary schools to significantly more children after half term.

It is not clear to us how the reintroduction of such significant numbers of pupils in primary schools can be safely managed, particularly considering that reception and year one comprise very young children with whom social distancing is extremely difficult

And we are worried that personal protective equipment in schools has so far been dismissed, leaving an over-reliance on social distancing in environments where this is inherently problematic.

We are not trying to impede the reopening of schools. Throughout the crisis we have highlighted the importance of bringing in more pupils when the time is right to do so and there is a clear plan in place to manage it safely. 

Unfortunately, we are not persuaded that either of these two simple tests has yet been met.

We welcome the Prime Minister’s assurance that this timescale is not set in stone and will be postponed if necessary, and we will continue to work constructively with ministers and officials, as we have done throughout this crisis.”