SCC concede 1st June may not be possible

Somerset County Council released a statement this evening in reply to questions from The Leveller.

It became clear earlier today that many council leaders did not agree with Westminster. They were resisting the decision that all primary schools should recommence on 1st June. We questioned where precisely SCC stood on this.

SCC note that, and we quote “Having worked closely with education leaders on how to sensibly and safely bring about the Government’s proposals, Somerset County Council accepts that from 1 June not all settings will be able to offer full time provision to the year groups specified.”

Schools and early years providers are working within difficulties posed by their circumstances and layouts and the guidance they must follow around pupil numbers, safe working transport arrangements, staffing levels and the continuing need to prioritise provision for vulnerable children and children of key workers.

The Council appreciates they will need to be flexible, with split weeks, staggered starts and other special arrangements needed to make things work. It is hugely grateful to Headteachers and early years providers not only for the immense amount of preparation work they have undertaken since the Government’s announcement, but also for the tireless work they have undertaken throughout this crisis.

Whilst the council has provided PPE to every school, they recognise that this should not be worn as standard. However they have conceded that Headteachers and teachers are best-placed to make the right decisions around what is practical, possible and safe for children and staff.

Whilst this will appear as an outbreak of common sense, the travel arrangements are less enticing. SCC say that “We want to make you aware there is limited school transport due to a reduction in staff because of coronavirus and social distancing requirements. We know how wonderfully our communities have pulled together during this difficult time once again we need your support. It would be a huge support if you can make your own arrangements for travel where possible so that we can try to meet the needs of all children. The details of what transport will be available will be included in your communications from individual schools.”

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