On Tuesday 19 May Tom Usher, Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education along with Pat Hackett, Leader of Wirral Council, issued a statement on the reopening of schools on 1 June. We've received many questions on social media, email and by phone and have answered some of the most common ones below.
Will all schools re-open on 1 June?
Schools are preparing for larger numbers of pupils to return to school. The initial focus is increasing capacity for children of key workers returning to work, vulnerable children and children with EHCPs. The next phase focuses on particular year groups taking into account the DfE guidance and individual school circumstances. However the further return of pupil numbers to school depends on a number of factors; the 5 conditions set out by the Government, individual schools’ staffing levels, the building layout and class sizes. Schools are looking at different ways of being able to bring children back safely and lots of options are still on the table. Whether that be alternate weeks, having some pupils in the morning and others in the afternoon or splitting classes up in to smaller sizes. Each school will make a call on whether or not they are ready to reopen and we will support them where we can. Schools remain open for all year groups however for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.
The Government will make a decision on May 28th 2020 regarding whether schools will open to more pupils from June 1st.
How will I know if my child’s school is open?
Schools will contact parents directly.
Who has final say if they will open or not?
Ultimately it will be up to the Governing Body and Headteacher of the individual school. As the Local Authority we’re saying we are not encouraging parents to send their children back in to school until it is considered safe to do so, but schools will only reopen if they meet the 5 conditions as set out by the government on May 10th.
Why are plans for schools all different?
A number of factors need to be taken in to account to assess the level of risk and make a call on whether or not it is safe for children to return. We have asked schools to share their plans and risk assessments with us and we, along with our colleagues in Public Health and Health & Safety, will work with the schools to make sure that their plans are suitable and protect both staff and children.
Do I have to send my child back when school reopens? What happens if I don’t want to?
During the current epidemic, we’re not telling parents that they have to send their children back to school. If you as a parent/carer decide not to send your children back to school it will not be marked as an absence and it will not affect any attendance records.
What if I would like to send my child back as I am now back in work? How do I arrange this?
If you are a key worker you need to contact the headteacher to arrange for your child to attend. If your child is in one of the affected year groups as set out by the government, Year 1, Year 6 or Reception, then your school will let you know if they are open for your child. If your child is not in one of the year groups identified in the DfE guidance as a priority for returning to school, and you are not a key worker, then your child will not return to school.
How will social distancing be monitored?
It will be up to each individual school. They are working on plans at the moment and looking at a number of different options whether that be alternating weeks between pupils, having some in during the morning and others in the afternoon and reducing class sizes. These plans will also factor in pick up/drop off times and traffic management around schools to keep people at a safe distance. It is important thar social distancing is maintained out of school. Where there is substantial evidence that children and their families have not been adhering to social distancing then your child may be asked not to return to school for 7 days.