The schools remained open for those children during the Easter and half-term breaks, but that won’t be the case for the summer holidays with No. 10 confirming today that schools in England will not be open for key workers’ kids.
Throughout the coronavirus lockdown, the Government has kept some schools open with a skeleton staff to take care of the children of public transport workers, NHS employees and other providers of vital services.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised a ‘big summer of catch up’ for pupils impacted by lockdown this year, but now it looks as though that work will have to take place at home
“We’re going to keep making sure that kids get the remedial help that they need for the stuff that they’ve missed for months and months to come so that they genuinely make up for lost time,” Boris Johnson said.
Key workers will not be able to send their kids to school over the summer, it was announced today.
On Wednesday the Prime Minister promised a “big summer of catch up” with plans for schoolchildren to be given additional educational support to better prepare them for going back in September.
The head of the school leaders’ union said: “As with the announcement that all children would return to primary school before the summer, the Government has rushed to announce headline-grabbing policies without properly engaging with the profession first.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, warned the scheme was “the latest in a long line of eye-catching announcements that will suffer from a lack of input from the profession”.
However details remain vague until Education Secretary Gavin Williamson releases more information next week.
“The language of summer catch-up completely underplays the scale and the nature of the challenges likely to be faced because of prolonged absence from school. There is no quick fix.”
Following the announcement of a “massive catch-up operation” over the summer, the National Education Union (NEU) has written to the Prime Minister outlining its proposals for a recovery plan.
But the Government also needs to come up with a “sustainable, long-term plan”, with help from the profession, in order to tackle attainment gaps caused by lengthy school closures, the union says.
The NAHT believes the Government should fund a locally-co-ordinated offer to support pupils over the summer, which could see youth groups and charities run activities with young people.
The NEU has called on the Government to work with teachers and unions on a 10-point plan to ensure disadvantaged children “do not become casualties” of Covid-19.
Proposals include continuing provision of free school meals over the summer holidays so that disadvantaged children do not suffer from holiday hunger, as well as giving local authorities more funding so they can coordinate the planning of summer holiday clubs, especially in areas of deprivation.
It came as reports in the Daily Telegraph suggested that Mr Johnson is considering reducing the two-metre social-distancing restriction to allow schools in England to reopen fully by September.
Former Conservative education secretary Lord Baker, chair of Baker Dearing Educational Trust, has called for it to be reduced to one metre in schools so that more children can return as soon as possible.
They also say public buildings, such as libraries and sports halls, civic centres and religious buildings should be used to expand the space available to schools so that social distancing can be achieved.