Headteachers fear schools won’t be safe to open in June after lockdown lifted


Government plans could open up classrooms again in June – a move teachers say is too soon.

Headteachers are scared for their safety and their pupils safety if schools open too soon

Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Sunday that year six children, aged 10 and 11, will be the first classes allowed back into schools as early as 1 June.

Other primary school years and then years 10 and 12 will follow them.

Schools have been closed since March 20, except for the children of key workers.

But the amount of parents taking advantage of still being able to send their kids to school while they work has been significantly lower than ministers expected – around 1 per cent.

Many teachers have said social distancing will be difficult in schools and almost impossible in others with narrow corridors and small classrooms, according to the Guardian.

Headteacher of Parklands primary school in Leeds Chris Dyson said: “We’ve still got 28,000 dead, which is an absolute disaster.”

“What we can’t afford to do is have wave two. What’s going to win this? Is it going to be money or is it going to be health?”

“The simple fact is it’s impossible to socially distance primary school children.

“I’ve just been around all the classrooms with a tape measure to see how many children I can get in each room with a view to social distancing.

“My year 3 class is normally 25. I can only have five children if we are following the letter of the law and keeping 2 metres apart.”

Matthew Shanks, executive headteacher of Education South West, a multi-academy trust with three secondary schools, six primaries and one all-through school, said teachers wanted to get children back to classrooms, but still had concerns over safety.

He said: “A lot of parents have said they will not be sending their children back to primary, no matter what happens.

“It’s a small world. People look around and see, if Spain are not opening [schools] until September, why are we opening them now?”

School leaders are also asking for more clarification on whether schools are compulsory and whether parents will be fined for not sending their child back to their classroom if they are worried about safety.

Normally parents can be fined £60 for not sending their child to school without a good reason.

If not paid, the fine then doubles to £120, before being escalated to prosecution by their local authority.