‘It doesn’t make sense’ - Parents' unease over staggered schools return

Most secondary school pupils would start the new term learning online to allow headteachers to roll out mass coronavirus testing of children and staff.

Most secondary school pupils would start the new term learning online to allow headteachers to roll out mass coronavirus testing of children and staff. - Credit: PA

Parents have expressed concerns over the planned staggered reopening of schools after the Christmas holidays. 

Secondary schools and colleges across the region were left facing last minute planning after being told that exam-year students would go back to school as normal on January 4.

A staggered return will see only exam year pupils will return to secondary school and colleges on the first day back in January. 

A staggered return will see only exam year pupils will return to secondary school and colleges on the first day back in January. - Credit: PA

But the majority of secondary school pupils will start the term learning online from home to allow headteachers to roll out mass coronavirus testing of children and staff.

Officials from Downing Street and the Department for Education were due to discuss the issue on Monday amid concerns over the spread of a new strain of coronavirus, although the DfE said it was not commenting on the outcome of the meeting.

Teaching unions have expressed doubts about the logistics of setting up a mass testing programme and they have criticised the government for making a last-minute announcement just two days before the end of term.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. 

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. - Credit: Archant

The doubts were echoed by parents in Norfolk on our Facebook page, some of whom said they intended to keep children off school.  

Michelle Denise Kirby said: “My daughter's high school had several cases in the space of a few days and it takes a bit of time it would seem to clearly establish who each infected child has been mixing with. 

School pupil wearing a face mask on public transport.

School pupil wearing a face mask on public transport. - Credit: PA

“For that reason I chose to keep my daughter off for the last couple of days of term. I'd prefer not to send them back for a while at least. It just doesn't seem safe enough to my mind.”

Stacie Moore said: “Whilst I want my children at school and learning I feel it's the older ones missing out by being closer to their exams. 

Most Read

“We aren't allowed to mix with anyone being in Tier 4 - how is it OK to allow the children too when they are saying the new variant is affecting children? Absolutely none of this makes sense.”

Jessica Lissack added: “They don’t know enough about this new variant to be sure our children are safe. Also keeping schools open means parents are mixing at the gates and children are mixing with more than three households.

“Don’t get me wrong I want my daughter to have an education but don’t really think sending her back to school at this stage is a good idea.”

The initial rollout of secondary school and college coronavirus testing will begin from the first week of January.

The initial rollout of secondary school and college coronavirus testing will begin from the first week of January. - Credit: PA

Under the government’s plan primary schools and special needs school pupils will return as normal on January 4.

Jason Tooke said: “All these guidelines for schools but there is never any mention about SEN schools. Those pupils and staff are forgotten in this pandemic.”

Maree Lynn Woodcock added: “How are we only meant to meet one person out in the open but are expected to be in a closed classroom with up to 30 children. Madness simply madness.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus