NOT all Worcestershire schools are likely to re-open on June 1 and not all eligible pupils will go back on that date, it has been revealed.

While Worcester’s MP says the “ambition and the aim” remains for a wider school reopening on June 1, he and the local authority stressed a final decision to go ahead will only be made if it is safe.

The government’s intention is for schools to reopen to reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils on that target date ‘at the earliest’. But in an open letter to parents and carers of pupils of Worcestershire schools under the local education authority, Dr Catherine Driscoll, director of children’s services at Worcestershire County Council, said: “It is important to note June 1 may not be the date the wider opening happens.”

In the letter Dr Driscoll said: “We are in contact with the Department for Education (DfE) and have emphasised that our approach is rooted in doing the right thing for children, families and schools, ensuring that children return to school when it is safe for them and the staff in their schools. We appreciate the importance of education at this young age and are keen to minimise the impact of its loss, and we are committed to striving for the right balance in achieving the return.”

Dr Driscoll said risk assessment work was being carried out at individual schools, and a June 1 opening date would depend upon this work. “Your child’s school will let you know as soon as possible their plan for welcoming more children,” Dr Driscoll added.

The council told the Worcester News that schools will reopen in a ‘phased way from June 1.’ Robin Walker, the city’s MP, said the ambition was for June 1 but highlighted this was dependent on the R number (the average number of people that one infected person can expect to pass coronavirus on to) staying below 1.

“The final decision on going ahead won’t be taken until it been determined to be absolutely safe according to what the R number is at the time,” the MP said.

“We have to base it on the scientific evidence. Any parent who does want to keep their children at home can. The rules have been specifically revised so that you can’t be fined for keeping a child away from school.

"The approach being taken is working with individual schools to make sure they can open safely. We have to keep looking at what the R number is doing and if it continues to come down then June 1 should be the logical date.

"If it were to come up, and there is some speculation that because of some of the relaxation measures already it could be going up in parts of the country, if that were to be the case then June 1 could be put back.”

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