Schools back? It’s difficult

Before bank holiday weekend we broke the news that Somerset County Council would not force schools to open on 1st June. Instead they provided each school with a standard pack of PPE kit and gave discretion to each head teacher to decide if the school could handle taking in pupils for the new term.

It is now up to head teachers to let parents and pupils know what arrangements they intend to make. Speaking to The Leveller, Bridgwater councillor Leigh Redman explained “I fully support the staff at every level as we move towards a wider opening of schools, it is hard to balance the wellbeing of both sides in this (Staff & Children), none of it is helped by the ridiculous position the government has placed on head teachers and parents, without clear guidance (even following the most recent government release), there is massive differences between what is said and the position on the front line, I recently reminded parents of the secretary of states comments ‘that the choice is for parents and none attendance would not attract fines at this time’.

I understand that Somerset schools are being encouraged to take more children back, the County council has offered to supply any PPE that is deemed necessary (although ridiculously schools may be charged for this), every school is getting an emergency PPE pack, but with such a vast difference between education environments social distancing between staff and pupils is tremendously difficult to manage. I know that in many cases parents will be taking the decision away from schools by deciding not to send their children, but it is important to remember that schools have not been closed and will remain open for children of critical workers, even over the half term, staff have been amazing.

The last point is important. Although a lot of focus has been on schools reopening for the majority of children, many schools and many teachers have continued working throughout the pandemic. They have provided school places for key workers and vulnerable children. Something that has been rather overlooked in all the talk of “reopening”….

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