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Schools, education and childcare

Last reviewed on 8 June

Since the announcement that schools could extend classes to certain year groups, we have worked with schools and unions to provide support to prepare schools to open when they are ready.

Twelve primary schools across the borough welcomed back more pupils during the week beginning 1 June. Most had continued to provide education for children of key workers and vulnerable children, and have now extended lessons to reception, year one and year six pupils.

More schools will be opening up in the coming weeks and support from all parties through regular online meetings between schools, the council and trade unions means that the schools community have the opportunity to work collaboratively to give children the right support.

Sue Forster, our Director of Public Health, said: "The publication of the R rate for COVID-19 for the North West being just above 1 has caused a lot of understandable concern for residents in St Helens.

"St Helens Borough Council have monitored the positive cases throughout the pandemic. At the height of the pandemic the number of weekly positive cases in St Helens was just under 180, but in the past few weeks this has reduced to under 5. The latest published death numbers have also reduced to weekly levels similar to the five-year seasonal average.

"The only reason that our numbers have come down to these levels from very high rates is because our public have maintained social distancing and continued with important hygiene measures. Without a vaccine and with little known about the immunity of COVID-19, it is really important to continue these important public health measures to ensure we keep the virus numbers low in our community. 

"I therefore agree that the Council’s position of supporting schools to make local, risk-assessed decisions in relation to schools extending their opening to reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils should remain unchanged at this time.”

Our Chief Executive Kath O’Dwyer said: "Based on the expert advice from our Public Health team and the data available to us, our advice to schools remains unchanged - that we acknowledge our schools are best placed to make decisions for their pupils and their staff, and as such we will continue to support our schools in what ever decision is right for their communities, based on their individual circumstances and risk assessments in relation to buildings, pupils and staff. We will of course keep this advice under review.

"We acknowledge that these are uncertain times for everyone but we want to reassure our headteachers, their staff, governors, parents and pupils that we are here to support them in both decision-making and in implementation to ensure the safety of all St Helens school children."

Home learning

Here's a list of educational websites and resources to help parents who are continuing their children's learning at home. Education Otherwise have also produced guidance for families of school children learning at home.

School admissions

Primary school places for September 2020 were announced on Thursday 16 April, with 97 per cent of parents successful in securing one of their preferred schools for their child.

Parents who applied online can view their allocated school via the online portal and received an email confirming the allocated school.

Our admissions team worked hard in challenging circumstances to meet the national deadline and have posted letters to those families who did not apply using the online system. 

Read about changes to school admission appeals.

School meal vouchers

Food vouchers are available for parents and carers of pupils eligible for free school meals who are currently away from the school setting.*

Parents and carers receive a voucher to the value of £15 a week per child through their child’s school, which can be redeemed online or spent in-store at a number of leading supermarkets.


*Please note that this is not applicable to the universal infant free school meal system.

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