11 May, 2020
Further to the article on the possible phased return of schools published in our e-newsletter, which you will have received last week, the following sets out the key developments to be aware of(https://www.forbessolicitors.co.uk/news/46969/27/preparing-for-the-return-of-staff-postlockdown).
Following the Prime Minister's announcement on Sunday that there is a conditional plan to reopen some schools, for some pupils, we distil below the key developments that Education providers need to know:
At the earliest on 1 June, the country may be in a position to allow for a phased return of primary schools. This would happen in carefully managed stages, beginning with the Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 age groups.
There is an ambition that secondary school pupils with exams in the next academic year will have some time in school with teachers before the summer holidays. The Prime Minister did not give any further details about what he meant by "some time".
The implication from the above announcements is that it appears unlikely that any other secondary pupils will be returning to school this side of the summer holidays and there was no indication that the Prime Minister will be expecting schools to open during the summer holidays themselves.
The date of 1 June is not set in stone and is entirely conditional on a number of big "ifs", including keeping the R-rate of infection down and the stage of the government's alert system we are at, at the time.
A number of unions, including the NEU and NAHT have raised concerns in the press regarding the plan and how the safety of both staff and pupils will be maintained on reopening.
The conditional plan applies only to schools in England and the devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may well take a different approach.
At this stage, the plan is in outline only but we are expecting further details to be published in the coming days. As always, we will keep you updated as matters progress. If you have any queries arising as a result of this briefing, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Education Team.