Telford & Wrekin Council working with schools for phased reopening

Schools in Telford and Wrekin are working with Telford & Wrekin Council to plan for the reopening of schools for specific year groups.

The Council is providing schools with support and information including new risk assessments to ensure that schools can start to reopen as safely as possible based each school’s own risk assessment. When this happens, will be determined by each individual borough school.

The Council says it is also liaising closely with unions on these plans.

To help ensure that schools can be as safe and prepared as possible, the Council will fund and provide each school, including academies, with the initial allocation of personal protective equipment it needs to reopen.

As directed by Government, schools will initially prioritise reopening for specific years groups. Priority is to be given to the following year groups – Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. The Government requires schools to admit the younger age groups first – Nursery, Reception and Year 1. It is also asking secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to begin some face to face support with Year 10 and 12 pupils and further guidance is awaited in relation to this.

It also asks that all schools and childcare providers continue to offer places to vulnerable children and children of critical workers, as they have since 23 March. 

It is likely that if a school decides it can reopen, it will start by admitting small groups at a time. How and when school reopens will vary from school to school.

Practical considerations such as catering and transport will vary depending on each school’s circumstances. In addition if a school has a number of staff self-isolating because they fall into a vulnerable group, this may limit a school’s scope and capacity to re-open.

Head teachers have already been communicating directly with parents about their plans in the next few days and will want to know parents’ intentions for their children’s attendance if they are in the priority year groups specified by Government.

No school can make any decision until the Government confirms its five key criteria for reopening it has set can be met.

Cllr Shirley Reynolds, cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:  “The reopening of schools is a vital step forward for everyone – particularly the children of the borough.

“However this must be done in a way that is as safe as possible for pupils, their families and school staff. We are working with our schools to help ensure this happens as quickly and as safely as possible.

“Our commitment to provide every school with the initial PPE needed to open beforehand underlines how we want to ensure they are able to do so as quickly and as safely as possible.

“Ultimately, when they re-open will be a decision made by each school, based on their circumstances and assessment of their risk.

“It wouldn’t be right for us to impose a date on schools to re-open. Each school is different and best placed to make that decision themselves.

“What’s important is that we support them fully to do so, when they tell us they are ready to.”

“We should remember that virtually every school in the borough has remained open throughout the pandemic for children of key workers and vulnerable learners and we are very grateful for their support throughout this crisis.”

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