The County Labour Group do not agree with the reopening of Primary schools for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children on Monday June 1st due to real concerns about the health and well being of both children, their wider families and the staff within the school.

We are keen that schools and colleges begin to reopen as soon as they can, but this needs to be safe for the children, their families, the staff and our wider society.

Group Leader Robin Lunn states, “Any return to school by individual year groups should only come about when the following conditions are met and it can be done safely. Schools have remained open during the Covid 19 crisis for the children of key workers and we applaud the professionalism of the staff that have kept them running. Any managed return to school should have full agreement between the government and teachers, based on reliable medical evidence which the BMA and other scientific bodies endorse. This will have the benefit of giving confidence to more parents who will feel happier about sending their children back to school”.

We support the 5 sensible tests put forward by the National Education Union which are as follows,

1. Much lower recorded Covid 19 cases than we have currently.

2. A national plan for social distancing within schools agreed by relevant parties.

3. Comprehensive access to regular testing for children and staff, so that our schools do not spread Covid 19 and cause wider health issues.

4. Protocols to be put in place to test a whole school or college where a case occurs.

5. Vulnerable staff must continue to work from home.

Cllr Lunn concludes, “We call on Worcestershire County Council to ensure that these conditions are met, so that any return to school in June does not leave parents or staff worried about catching Covid 19 and ensures a safe and secure environment. We fully appreciate that it is in the interests of all children particularly from poorer backgrounds, to be reintegrated back into school life, but only when it is safe to do so”.

We also wonder why more thought has not been given to Year 10 and Year 12 children returning to Secondary and 6th forms due to their vital exams next year. They would fully understand the importance of social distancing and would be able to carry it out in practice.