Kettering school won't open on June 1 because of lack of Government guidance

Remote learning will remain in place until further notice

Friday, 22nd May 2020, 3:30 pm
Southfield School.

A Kettering secondary school says it has abandoned hopes of opening on June 1 because of the absence of specific guidance from the Department for Education.

Southfield School - which closed in March when a person tested positive for coronavirus - had 'aspirational plans' to open for Years 10 and 12 from June 1, the date the Government wants some pupils to go back to school.

But the girls' school in Lewis Road says they have not received supplementary secondary specific guidance from the DfE and so won't open then. No set date has been given for when their pupils will be back at school.

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In a letter to parents send this afternoon, headteacher Steph Roberts said: "Further to our last communication on May 18, we can now confirm that we will not be undertaking our aspirational plans for ‘wider opening’ for Years 10 and 12 from June 1.

"This is due to the absence of the supplementary secondary specific guidance from the Department for Education (DfE).

"As you may be aware, this is the equivalent guidance that has been received by primary schools. However, the considerations for secondary schools are very different in nature.

"Therefore, remote learning remains in place for all year groups until further notice. We are committed to ‘wider opening’ as soon as it is practicably possible."

The letter added that a health and safety consultant has said the school has 'gone beyond' the Government's requirements in putting into place protective measures for their school community.

A number of councils have revolted over the Government's June 1 plan but Northamptonshire County Council, the county's education authority, is not one of them.

They backed the plan - one of the most controversial moves to ease the lockdown so far - and said they will support schools to bring pupils back.

Earlier this week Cllr Fiona Baker, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Since lockdown began, schools in Northamptonshire have been going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that education is still accessible for local children.

“The Government has asked schools to prepare to begin to open for more children from June 1. At Northamptonshire County Council, we believe that it is important for children to resume their education so they can learn and interact with their peers. However, this needs to be done in such a way that we minimise the risks to pupils, staff and parents as much as possible."

Earlier today an independent group of scientists warned June 1 was too early to open schools, saying that more time is needed to set up a track and trace approach.

Elsewhere in Kettering, Bishop Stopford School has outlined provisional plans to provide on-site lessons for Year 10s every other week from June 8.

The year group will be split in half with sessions from 10am to noon and then from 1pm to 3pm with groups of no bigger than 15.

There will be daily cleaning and a deep clean at the end of the week and students will follow hygiene protocols including using alcohol-based hand gel.