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Younger teachers could be first back to classrooms if schools reopen on June 1

Younger teachers could be the first back in the classrooms to stop coronavirus spreading to more vulnerable groups.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies released it's latest findings today after a row errupted over Boris Johnson's annoucement schools would reopen on June 1.

Younger teacher could be first back teaching to protect the more vulnerable groups. Credit Ryan McVay/Think Stock
Younger teacher could be first back teaching to protect the more vulnerable groups. Credit Ryan McVay/Think Stock

The evidence is inconclusive as to how likely children are to transmit Covid-19 but the report does say teachers do not appear to be at a greater risk of catching it than other professionals.

It said: "In respect to teacher profiles, it may be possible to prioritise younger teachers’ attendance as long as this was negotiated rather than imposed. Other staff could remain at home and facilitate distance learning."

Kent County Council has said they will support schools in preparing to get all studens back to school safely.

The director for children, young people and education, Matt Dunkley, said: “We are monitoring the national position carefully, following guidance from Government and working closely with head teachers in support of their preparations to further open schools to a wider cohort of children on Monday, June 1, at the earliest.

"Our priority will be to ensure all children, young people and staff in Kent schools can learn and work in a safe environment and we will do everything necessary to support schools to achieve this.”

How the Year 2 classes will look during coronavirus lockdown at Halfway Primary School, Sheppey, when children are allowed back
How the Year 2 classes will look during coronavirus lockdown at Halfway Primary School, Sheppey, when children are allowed back

Medway Council has also said it will work with schools and head teachers on the phased reopening.

But head teachers across the county have shared their concerns over the plans with some refusing to open on June 1.

A letter sent to parents of children at Miers Court in Rainham said: they will be opening on June 8 at the earliest and will depend on the R rate in Medway.

Year 6 pupils will only be attending four days a week from 8.30am until 2pm and must wear clean uniform or t-shirt and shorts everyday.

The Whitstable School's Ana Gibson said she needs to see "compelling evidence" before she will let her students back.

Head teacher at the Whitstable School Ana Gibson
Head teacher at the Whitstable School Ana Gibson

"Our view on this is that there remains nothing practical we can do in preparation for this at the moment until such time as there is more clarity as to how these arrangements are expected to work," she said.

"We will need to see compelling evidence that we will be able to protect the health and well-being of staff and pupils.

"There remains simply too much uncertainty for any of us to begin doing anything else other than to continue with our current focus of supporting vulnerable students and the children of key workers as well as providing online learning materials.

"We all want to return to our roles as teachers and support staff as quickly as possible, but only when it is safe to do so."

Cllr Ashley Clark (Con) says Mrs Gibson has his full support and “a little more delay is better than a lifetime of loss and regret”.

“The head teacher at the Whitstable School is first rate and I have received a number of very positive remarks from parents,” he told KentOnline.

“Head teachers have an impossible task. They are hanged if they do and hanged if they don’t and have to make decisions against a background of government advice which on occasions has been confusing and conflicting to say the least."

A department for education spokesperson said: “We want children back in schools as soon as possible because being with their teachers and friends is so important for their education and their well-being.

“Plans for a cautious, phased return of some year groups from June 1, at the earliest, are based on the best scientific and medical advice.

“The welfare of children and staff has been at the heart of all decision making.”

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

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