Council won’t force schools to open on 1 June


Bradford Council has no intention of forcing schools to open on 1 June.


Schools in Ilkley can decide whether they open on a limited basis or continue to open just for vulnerable children and the children of key workers as they do now


Last week the Government made clear that plans to re–open some schools, years Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 could return as early as June 1, should the rate of coronavirus transmissions continue to fall.


The council says keeping pupils, staff and their families safe has to be its top priority.


Cllr Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, said:


“Bradford Council has no intention of directing schools to open on 1 June or to force parents to send their children back and we are committed to working in partnership with school leaders, families and trade unions so that they can make sure their schools are safe environments for our children whenever they choose to open. Parents will not be fined if they choose not to send their children back to school at this time.


“Obviously we will always want children to be at school so they get the best life outcomes and so that vulnerable children are safe.


“Many schools in our district have been working hard over the past two months of the pandemic to support vulnerable children and the children of key workers and these activities have gone well beyond what would normally be expected of school staff.


“Last week the Government announced that some year groups - Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 - will be able to return to school from 1 June at the earliest.


"In Bradford, we are very aware that schools will need to reopen too at some point in the future but during this pandemic keeping pupils, staff and their families safe has to be our top priority.


“We have been working closely with head teachers to establish exactly what is needed for them reopen safely. Each school is different, and we believe that head teachers know their pupils and their circumstances and are best placed to decide whether or how their schools should reopen.  Each school is carrying out a detailed risk assessment so they can establish based on evidence whether it is safe to open or not.


“We will back the schools and support whatever decisions that individual heads and governing bodies make, whether they open on a limited basis or continue to open just for vulnerable children and the children of key workers as they do now. Once schools have established what they are able to do we will work with them to make sure this information is widely available to parents.


“We will continue to liaise closely with the Department for Education so they are fully sighted on the issues that affect the children and families of Bradford. What we need is a planned, careful and robust way out of this lockdown for schools. We are therefore calling on the government to publish the scientific evidence so that everyone is equipped with the information and can be reassured on when it is safe to open.


“Schools across the Bradford District have been supporting children and their families throughout this crisis and we are hugely grateful for the continued efforts of all schools and their staff.”

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