‘I need schools to go back as soon as possible’: Parents react after ministers drop plans for all primary pupils to return before summer

‘I need schools to go back as soon as possible’: Parents react after ministers drop plans for all primary pupils to return before summer


‘I need schools to go back as soon as possible’: Parents react after ministers drop plans for all primary pupils to return before summer

‘I need schools to go back as soon as possible’: Parents react after ministers drop plans for all primary pupils to return before summer

‘I need schools to go back as soon as possible’: Parents react after ministers drop plans for all primary pupils to return before summer 1

Parents have expressed concerns about the government’s decision to drop its plan for all primary school students to return to class before the end of the summer term.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs on Tuesday that it would not be possible to get all children back to the classroom for four weeks before the start of the holidays.

This followed a warning from some headteachers warned they did not have the space to accommodate all pupils while sticking to government guidelines limiting class sizes to 15.


As a result, many children will not be able to go back to school until September at the earliest.

Lucy Lawson, 45, from Settle, North Yorkshire, who has a child in year 4, is concerned by the government’s announcement.

Ms Lawson said: “With schools not returning until September, I will have not worked for six months, so I personally need schools to go back as soon as possible.”

“I know there will be millions of parents in the same situation. Unless grandparents are allowed access again, this is a serious situation for many families,” she added.

Lisa Pitt, from Gotham, Nottinghamshire, has a son in year 2. Although she understands the reasons why children cannot safely return to school, she is worried about how her son and other children will catch up on the learning they have missed during lockdown.

Ms Pitt told The Independent: “I would like to know how they [the government] are going to address the loss of education that the children are suffering right now.”

“March until September is a very long time not to be in school,” she added.

After adding that she cannot fault her son’s school, Ms Pitt said that because she was not a teacher she could not replace his education herself.

As part of the government’s plan for a phased reopening of schools, some pupils in reception as well as years 1 and 6 began to return to school from 1 June.

Marcus Goddard, 38, from north London, has a daughter in reception who went back to school on Tuesday.

He told The Independent that he felt sorry for parents whose children cannot go to school, saying they had been given “a ray of hope” only for it to be taken away.

“It’s a long time without school and I don’t know what the parents are going to do. Especially when some offices and places of work start going back,” he added.

Mr Goddard also raised concerns about the widening of the attainment gap between students from poorer backgrounds and their wealthier peers.

Organisations such as the Education Policy Institute have said that this gap has grown during the coronavirus crisis, for reasons including the lack of access to technology.

Responding to these concerns, the education secretary said on Tuesday that a long-term approach “over a full year and more” would be needed to help students catch up with the learning they have missed as a result of the lockdown.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, has called for the government to give greater clarity to schools and parents.

Mr Whiteman said: “With the end of term just six weeks away, government now needs to provide urgent clarity on the anticipated constraints that schools may face in September, so that schools and parents can start to look ahead and plan with greater understanding of the possible disruption that may yet still follow.”

Additional reporting by Press Association


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