ASCL responds to PM’s announcement on wider opening of schools and colleges

24/05/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on today’s announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the wider opening of schools and colleges.
 
Commenting on today’s announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the wider opening of schools and colleges, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“We welcome the Prime Minister’s recognition that it will not be possible for all primary schools to open to more pupils from June 1.
 
“The reality is that many schools will need to phase back eligible pupils over a period of time, and there will be a great deal of variability across the country according to context.
 
“We also welcome the decision to push back bringing in Year 10 and 12 students to June 15 and the clarification about the maximum number of students at any one time.
 
“However, we have to say that the government has not done a good job in building confidence in its plans.
 
“It has not communicated the rationale for its chosen approach well, and it left primary schools with little time to plan and implement safety protocols.
 
“It is also worrying that the government’s crucial test, trace, and isolate system is not yet in place and is unproven.
 
“We all need to recognise that the responsibility for wider opening in the immediate future now rests entirely on primary schools and early years settings which are expected to bring in more pupils from June 1.
 
“It is doubtful that any part of the education sector has ever been asked to do so much in so little time.
 
“We would ask everybody to recognise the immensely difficult circumstances and to respect the decisions made by schools.”