• Kia Fullerton

Pupils in England are unlikely to return for a month before summer

All primary school pupils are unlikely to return to school before the summer holidays as the Government had initially hoped, according to reports.

Schools have so far reopened for pupils in Reception, Year One and Year Six following an ease of the lockdown restrictions. But the original plan was to have all primary children in England to go back for four weeks before the end of the academic year.

However, with schools saying they cannot manage any more children, the plan appears unlikely to go ahead.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to make an announcement about the reopening of schools on Tuesday, following a Cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

School groups, which had previously expressed concerns about social distancing rules in classrooms, said they were unsurprised that the Government was changing its ambition.

Teachers have mentioned that they cannot accommodate more pupils than those who have already returned to school, given the new distancing rules and the low number of staff working.

Guidance from the Department for Education says classes should be capped at 15 students, but some schools have allowed fewer pupils in the phased reopening.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said the social distancing rules had made it “impossible” for all primary schools to admit pupils before the summer holiday.

“It has taken the Government some time to recognise what was obvious to most".

As a solution Dr Bousted has called for a “national plan for education” in England, including “blended learning” at home and in school.

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