Hartlepool school chiefs pledge to put safety first after Boris Johnson aims for June return for some pupils

Education chiefs in Hartlepool say they will put the safety of pupils and staff first after Boris Johnson announced intentions to allow some children back into schools from June.

Monday, 11th May 2020, 5:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 11:54 am
Neil Nottingham Headteacher at Stranton Primary. Picture by Frank Reid

The Prime Minister announced a potential reopening of primary schools to reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children from June 1 if the coronavirus rate continues to fall.

But Hartlepool education leaders have reacted with caution to the news and say there are still many questions including around social distancing.

Throughout the lockdown, town schools have continued to open for children of key workers and for staff preparing work for children home schooling.

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Neil Nottigham, headteacher of Stranton Primary School, said he would only do what was right and safe for the school.

He said: “We will take heed of government advice but any decision we make moving forward will be with parents, staff and the children in mind first and foremost.

“Until I can be 100% confident I can keep all those people safe I would have to look at what provision we can offer.”

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman told the Mail: “Schools in Hartlepool are working with each other and with the local authority to decide how best to implement any phased re-opening of schools as mentioned by the Prime Minister in his broadcast last night.

“We want to make sure that we make the right decisions that support our pupils, our families and our staff.

“As and when we have a more confirmed timescale from the Government we will be in a better position to comment further.”

Speaking after the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday night, Neil McAvoy, deputy headteacher at Clavering Primary School, said nothing has changed in the short term and schools will work with each other and the council to decide how best to implement any possible changes.

He said: “It is important that we work together to make the right decisions to support our pupils, our families and our staff.

“The health and wellbeing of children in Hartlepool will always be our number one priority.”

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