Schools’ return is ‘first step’ out of lockdown

As first was going to press, schools in England were preparing for the return of all pupils from 8 March, as part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Ministers also announced a £700 million package of support to help children and young people catch up on missed learning and development.

The package focuses on an expansion of one-to-one and small group tutoring programmes, supporting the development of disadvantaged children in early years settings, and summer provision for those pupils who need it most.

State primary and secondary schools will receive a one-off Recovery Premium, building on the Pupil Premium, to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Councils want all children to return to school to continue with their education and will be working closely with the Government, education leaders and schools to make sure the return on 8 March is a success. 

“Further clarity is needed on how all children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can recover the education that they have missed out on.”

The reopening of schools and colleges marks the first step on the Prime Minister’s roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions in England. Subject to infection rates, hospital admissions and deaths continuing to fall, and the continued rollout of the vaccination programme, it is hoped ‘stay at home’ rules will be lifted from 29 March, with all shops reopening from 12 April.

Indoor hospitality and entertainment could reopen from 17 May, with 21 June pencilled in as the earliest date at which all restrictions could be lifted.

Cllr Hudspeth added: “Councils will do all they can to turn this roadmap into a reality by building on successful work with the NHS on the vaccination rollout. 

“Widespread community testing in schools, businesses, care homes and other places – coordinated by councils – will also be absolutely fundamental in bringing down infection rates and releasing restrictions on our lives and economy.”

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