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Tuesday, June 09, 2020

England abandons plan to reopen Primary Schools before summer

The Guardian reports on the rather predictable decision by the UK Government to abandon plans to push ahead with reopening schools in England, after the government admitted that not all primary school pupils will be able to return to the classroom before the end of summer.

The paper says that Boris Johnson's aim “to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages,” with these schools opening to pupils in reception, year one and year six from 1 June, has run into practical difficulties.

They add that attendance statistics collected by the Department for Education to be published on Tuesday are likely to confirm that only half of pupils in the three eligible year groups returned to school last week. Scepticism by parents and opposition from school unions and local authorities, wary of the health and safety difficulties for both staff and pupils in England’s ageing and cramped classrooms has effectively upended the plan.

Of course the approach in Wales is different with all schools due to open on 29 June but only admitting one third of pupils at a time. The idea being to prepare pupils and staff for the reality of the new autumn term.

The question is whether this approach too, will be met with the same problems and practicalities as England. We will have to see.
The thing about project planning is that when you are delivering part A, you have designed part B and have an outline for part C.

Throughout this crisis, government has announced part A with a vague hope of delivering it. No planning.

For schools to operate in June 2020, they needed plans to change teaching time, increase floor space by using other facilities and double the number of teaching assistants. They needed to plan it at the start of UK lockdown.

Where are the temporary classrooms? Summer schools for children out of classes? Building a CRB system for thousands of new people working with young or vulnerable people?
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