Kensington and Chelsea headteachers “generally supportive” of plans to reopen primary schools on June 1

By Owen Sheppard, Local Democracy Reporter

Primary school headteachers in Kensington and Chelsea are said to be “generally supportive” of the Government’s plans to encourage children back to their classrooms.

The news comes after announcements from the Department for Education and Prime Minister Boris Johnson that children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 could return to lessons from June 1.

Councillor David Lindsay, Kensington and Chelsea council’s lead member for children and schools, said: “We know primary school headteachers in the borough are generally supportive of plans for a phased return on June 1.

“We are working closely with them to assess any risks and put plans in place to keep children safe.”

Neighbouring Westminster council has also said: “We fully support our primary schools extending their offer to reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils to attend from June 1.”

The two Conservative-run councils came out in support of the Government as a row intensified over whether it will be safe for schools to welcome back more pupils in two weeks’ time.

Three of London’s Labour-run councils – Enfield, Barking and Dagenham, and Redbridge – have been critical. Elsewhere, while Tory-run Solihull and Essex councils have spoken out against the plans, as have Hartlepool and Liverpool City councils.

It is estimated that up to 1,500 primary schools around the country that are managed by councils will go against the Government’s plan.

The Department for Education issued guidelines for how schools could maintain social distancing and high levels of cleanliness. They include:

  • Having a maximum of 15 pupils per class
  • Different classes having staggered times for arriving and leaving school
  • Staggered lunch and break times
  • More frequent washing of hands and cleaning surfaces

There are 28 primary schools in Kensington and Chelsea and more than 50 in the borough of Westminster.

Councillor Timothy Barnes, Westminster council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “It is those children that do not have access to good quality home learning that have particularly missed out over recent weeks.

“We look forward to seeing more children go back to school, which will not only improve their access to learning, but it will also be extremely beneficial for their emotional, social and behavioural well-being as well.”

Kensington and Chelsea council said it had been helping its schools get PPE and that it had been providing help with carrying out risk assessments before opening.

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