Release date: 31/05/2020

Tomorrow (1 June) is the first day that primary schools in England are able to open for more pupils in addition to the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Responses to a snapshot questionnaire from the BBC for primary school governors gives a patchwork picture with roughly a half of schools expecting to reopen on 1 June. Some schools are expecting only a few pupils but many others are expecting more than half. About a third of schools will be using a rota system to accommodate pupils in Reception, year 1 and year 6, with the common options being part-time weeks and closing for a day a week for deep cleaning.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association said: “I want to emphasise the care and diligence that governing boards and school leaders will have given to their risk assessment and their plans for reopening. These decisions will be based on what is safe and right for each school given the different buildings, staff groups and communities they have. It is therefore appropriate that there are a wide range of approaches to reopening. Much thought has been given to doing what is correct for their local context. The decisions that school leaders have reached with their boards’ support can be trusted and will be kept under constant review. The conversations in those schools that have chosen not to open further tomorrow have also moved on to how and when they can invite back more children. We are all frustrated by the amount of education pupils are missing, but planning for further gradual re-opening needs to continue to be careful in order to reduce the risks to all.”

NGA has also urged the the government to review and drop its plans to have all primary children to return to school for a month before the summer holidays, in a letter to the Secretary of State for Education. Under the current guidance, NGA says it is not practically possible to achieve this return in most schools and believes that this change in policy would provide certainty to school leaders, governing boards and parents, and relieve pressure on those having to make the very difficult decisions about how to keep pupils and staff safe. Around 3 in 4 primary governors responding to the BBC’s snapshot questionnaire say it is unlikely that all pupils will be able to return at all before the summer.

Read the full story on BBC News: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-52844043

Just over 2,350 primary school governors who are members of NGA responded to the snapshot questionnaire which covered the feasibility and timing of primary schools reopening to pupils in early years, reception, year one and year six from 1 June.

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