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Less than half of pupils return to school in Shropshire

Yesterday (Monday 1 June) saw the wider reopening of primary schools in England to extend provision to nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils.

More than 60% of the schools that have provided information have re-opened to wider year groups on Monday and 20% indicated that they will open either today (Tuesday) or later this week.

The remaining schools will open in coming weeks, most of them on the 8th or 15th June.

Karen Bradshaw, executive director of children’s services with Shropshire Council, said: “As we expected, a number of parents are choosing to keep their children at home and typical attendance in the year groups attending is below 50%.

“We have always been very clear that the re-opening to wider year groups may need to be phased. Therefore schools may not have fully re-opened to reception, Year 1 and Year 6 but will aim to expand their offer to meet this ambition over the coming weeks.

“The safety of children and staff is our priority. All schools will have completed a risk assessment before re-opening.  Headteachers have had to work incredibly hard to undertake these and put measures in place to make sure that children are as safe as possible in school.  These measures will include staggered starts and finishing, one-way systems, increased handwashing, social distancing where possible, limiting the number of pupils in each classroom etc.  

“Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is in reception and it’s very difficult to make sure that four and five year-olds stay two metres apart – we’ve seen lots of good practice to try to solve this, like asking children to sit on mats that are safely distanced, or giving them their own set of play-doh rather than sharing.  

“The council’s health and safety team has undertaken a quality assurance of the risk assessments for all  maintained primary schools. All received were completed before Monday where there was an expected start this week.”  

The schools that have yet to open for reception, Year 1 and Year 6 will still be offering provision for vulnerable learners and children of critical workers. 

All schools have been offered  emergency sets of PPE to be used in line with government guidelines. 

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