Primary schools could begin reopening from 1 June

11th May 2020
National Allocation Day for Primary School Places 2019

Primary schools in England could reopen to some year groups from 1 June “at the earliest”, says Boris Johnson.

The prime minister said a phased return to school would begin with pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, if infection rates and the government’s other tests at the time allow it.

For most pupils, schools have been closed since 20 March.

But the National Education Union said the reopening plan was “nothing short of reckless”.

“At the earliest by June 1, after half term, we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages,” said Mr Johnson, in an address to the nation.

Secondary schools are likely to stay closed until September.

But the prime minister said there was an “ambition” that secondary pupils facing exams next year – such as Years 10 and 12 – would get some time in school before the summer holidays.

These were the “first careful steps” and the timetable for reopening would be delayed if necessary, he said.

“If we can’t do it by those dates, and if the alert level won’t allow it, we will simply wait and go on until we have got it right,” said Mr Johnson.

“If there are problems we will not hesitate to put on the brakes,” said the prime minister.

Mr Johnson set out how schools in England would begin to reopen, beyond the children of key workers and vulnerable children who are currently attending.

The oldest and some of the youngest in primary school would go back first – Year 6 who would soon be moving to secondary school and the Reception class and Year 1.

Head teachers have warned that social distancing would mean schools would not have the capacity to teach all year groups at the same time.

Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union, said it was important the reopening date was not “set in stone”, because it was not yet clear how the proposed numbers of pupils could be “safely managed”.

Report courtesy of the BBC.