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Statement on the opening of schools

Article date - 19 May 2020

St Helens Council outlines its position on schools reopening.
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The Prime Minister in his statement on 10th May announced the Government’s intention that childcare providers and schools should reopen on 1st June.

St Helens Council continues to have considerable consultation and engagement with our local schools and nurseries to plan in relation to opening schools to more pupils, along with regular meetings with our Trade Union colleagues.  Our schools also continue to engage with parents to assess potential take-up and collate parental views.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson stated on the weekend of 17th May that schools would only return if five tests have been met:

 

Our schools have worked incredibly hard to ensure that children are able to return to the classroom safely.

St Helens Council is keen to ensure that children are able to return to school but only if it is safe to do so.  Our Headteachers and Governors are assessing whether the local demand, physical building capacity and teacher availability supports the achievement of five tests for individual schools. 

Councillor Sue Murphy, Cabinet Member for Developing Young People, said:

“I and all of my councillor colleagues are very proud of the work undertaken by our teachers and staff in schools.  The effort to continue to support those in greatest need has been a credit to all involved and greatly appreciated by our local communities.  

"The council will continue to work with all our Headteachers and Governors to decide whether and when individual schools are able to open their school to the year groups proposed by Government as well as their continued support to our vulnerable children and the children of key-workers.   

"Throughout this crisis the council has given significant support to childcare providers, schools, and parents to make decisions about how best to support and educate children in their care. We will continue to provide this support and guidance.

"We fully appreciate this is a complex situation, which is why we believe that decisions of this nature should be made at a local level by people who know their communities and their children best. St Helens Council will support our schools with the decisions that they make based on individual school circumstances.

"Parents will continue to be kept informed by their school and the Council about the next steps to be taken.”