Hartlepool schools will not reopen on June 1 as council and headteachers stand against Government plans

Council chiefs in Hartlepool have confirmed schools will not be reopening on June 1, following national coronavirus updates earlier this week.

By Nic Marko
Friday, 15th May 2020, 5:44 pm
Updated Friday, 15th May 2020, 5:47 pm

Guidance stated if ministers are convinced infection rates are falling, schools will begin to reopen from June 1 “at the earliest”, beginning with primary pupils in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 classes.

The move was met with caution from unions, who have called on the government to step back from the identified date and work members to create the conditions for a safe return to schools based on the “principles and tests” they have set out.

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Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs have now issued a statement that schools in the town will not be reopening on that date, with coronavirus cases in the town continuing to rise.

They said: “Given that coronavirus cases locally continue to rise, Hartlepool Borough Council has been working with schools and we have agreed they will not reopen on Monday 1 June.

“Whilst we recognise the importance of schools reopening, we want to be absolutely clear that we will be taking a measured and cautious approach to this.

“We continue to work with schools to put in place appropriate measures to help keep children and staff safe when a phased reopening is possible.”

Health experts had warned Covid-19 cases are continuing to increase at a rate which suggests they have not yet peaked in Hartlepool

Earlier this week Hartlepool education leaders reacted with caution to the updated national guidance and said there were still many questions including around social distancing.

Speaking on Monday, Neil Nottingham, 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.”

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

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