Schools in Sefton will not reopen on June 1, despite a pledge from Prime Minister Boris Johnson for them to return.
Instead, parents in Southport, Formby and elsewhere are looking at a return date of June 15.
The council praised the “commitment and hard work” of teachers and support staff who have been keeping schools open and teaching children of frontline NHS staff and other key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
They also said they understood the reluctance of some parents to send their children back to school even on June 15, and confirmed that they “ will not be issuing fines for non-attendance during this initial period.”
A Sefton Council spokesperson said: “Since 23rd March many schools in Sefton have remained open to children of key workers and vulnerable children. Teachers and support staff have ensured children have been supported during this challenging period. The commitment and hard work of teachers and support staff is a credit to Sefton.
“Since the Prime Minister’s announcement that schools will potentially also open for children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from 1st June, the Department for Education has provided advice for school leaders to support them with the next steps on the reopening of their schools which may start from 1st June, however as a council we are suggesting this from 15th June to allow for time for appropriate risk assessment, including staff availability and to ensure tests set out by the Government and Trade Unions are met.
“Secondary schools, sixth forms, and further education colleges will begin some face to face support with Year 10 and Year 12 pupils, however they will not be returning to full time education at the present time.
“The priority of the Council and school leaders is the safety of the children and the staff.
“Currently school leaders, including Governing Bodies are working through the government guidance that has been published to consider how best to reopen their schools safely.
“We therefore do not expect childcare providers or schools to adhere to government guidance in terms of timescales, or the suggested year groups, if they judge this not to be in the best interest of children.
“Of course, every school is unique, has different circumstances, and will be responding to them and the needs of their community in a variety of ways. Sefton Council will continue to review the situation over the coming weeks.
“Our schools will continue to support children and their parents/carers and will provide a variety of work and activities for children while they remain at home.
“Schools will keep parents fully informed of their approaches to the reopening of their school.
“We understand that some parents and guardians will be reluctant to send their children back at the start of next month and, in line with the Government guidance, will not be issuing fines for non-attendance during this initial period.”
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