Fined for not sending your child to school in June?
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Over the past few days, there have been theories circulating that parents might be fined for keeping their children at home once schools reopen. However, No. 10 has now confirmed that parents won't be fined if they choose to keep their children at home once schools reopen over coronavirus fears.
In Boris Johnson's second phase of his three-phase plan to ease lockdown across the UK, he announced that students are slated to return to school in June if new cases of coronavirus keep decreasing.
Who will be the first to return?
Among the first to return will be students in reception, year 1 and year 6. This will allow the youngest children and those preparing for the transition to secondary school to have maximum time with their teachers.
A spokesperson for No. 10 said that "While we will not penalise [parents] for keeping children at home, once children are eligible to return to school we will strongly encourage them to do so."
Allowing children to return to school has been a top priority for the Government, as it will enable parents to return to work without having to care for children at home and homeschool their children not receiving formal education.
What do teachers think?
Prominent figures in education have spoken out against No. 10's decision to reopen schools. Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: "We think that the announcement by the Government that schools may reopen from June 1 with reception and years one and six is nothing short of reckless." Dr Bousted urged Government to increase spend on deep cleaning and personal protective equipment and local powers to close schools if clusters of infections break out.
Chris Dyson, Headteacher of Parklands Primary School in Leeds, agrees. He believes that it's simply "impossible to socially distance primary school children".
Ultimately, the Government hopes that they can get students back to school so that they will have at least one month of teaching before the summer holidays begin.
What about secondary school pupils?
The majority of secondary school pupils are not expected to return to schools before September. The exception to this would be GCSE and A-Level students set to sit crucial exams next year, who might have "face to face" contact with teachers before summer holidays begin.
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