LGA responds to plans to stagger reopening of secondary schools in January

“It is vital that the expertise of local public health teams is used to help with the logistics and rollout of the plan, while government needs to urgently publish guidance that supports this announcement to provide clarity for schools, address questions which currently remain unanswered, and takes account of local needs and capacity challenges.”


School children

Responding to the Government today announcing that the reopening of secondary schools in England after Christmas will be staggered and a large-scale coronavirus testing exercise undertaken, Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:

“Large-scale COVID-19 testing clearly has the potential to help keep schools open, and staff and pupils out of isolation. This is vital as we work towards our shared goal of ensuring pupils don’t fall further behind in their education.

“However, this is a hugely ambitious programme to be completed in an extremely short timeframe when school staff and leadership teams, who are already exhausted after what has been a very challenging year, may be forced to work over the Christmas break to help coordinate it.

“It is vital that the expertise of local public health teams is used to help with the logistics and rollout of the plan, while government needs to urgently publish guidance that supports this announcement to provide clarity for schools, address questions which currently remain unanswered, and takes account of local needs and capacity challenges.

“Schools have already incurred considerable additional costs due to COVID-19, so while it is good the Government’s announcement promises that reasonable workforce costs will be reimbursed, this should be widened and backdated to cover staffing costs including supply teachers which is one of the biggest costs for schools.”