Lack of schools plan ‘a disaster’, says North Devon headteacher
- Credit: Archant
The complete lack of a government plan to get children back to school in September is a disaster, a North Devon headteacher has said.
Michael Johnson, executive headteacher of the Chulmleigh Academy Trust group of four schools, said they’d had no word at all on how pupils were going to go back to lessons in less than three months.
The trust includes Chulmleigh College, Chulmleigh Primary School, Lapford Community Primary School and East Worlington Primary School.
So far it has welcomed back 17 reception children, 23 in Year 6 and 37 children of key workers.
There will be 86 Year 10 students returning in the next four weeks, with 25 per cent in school each week.
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Mr Johnson met with North Devon MP Selaine Saxby and a representative of Torridge MP Geoffrey Cox’s office today (Friday, June 19) to lay out his concerns.
He said existing social distancing and coronavirus pandemic guidance would not work if there were more children in school.
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There would not be enough classrooms or buses under social distancing rules plus current guidance regarding staff vulnerable to the virus would mean there would not be enough staff either.
Mr Johnson told the Gazette: “This situation is a disaster for our children. We were grateful that our MP Selaine Saxby attended the meeting alongside the MP’s assistant for Geoffrey Cox and we know that Mel Stride would have liked to attend.
“We all recognise that the outbreak of Covid 19 is a catastrophe and this is difficult to manage, but it needs managing nevertheless.
“We have been asking for information about September for weeks now. We are still waiting for news about the plan for September.
“Children need to be educated, parents need to return to work and society needs to get back on its feet. We’re grateful that our MP will take our points to government.
“I’m happy to plan in the summer holidays, notwithstanding the fact that if I do, it will be too late. Parents need to know the plan now.”
A letter was sent out to parents on June 18 to explain the situation and urge them to email their MPs to add their voices.
In the letter Mr Johnson wrote: “I am aware that I am writing to parents who work and need to plan family life and who also take the education of their children extremely seriously.
“I have done my very best to get an answer and we need some leadership right away.”