UK school closure CHAOS: Huge U-turn over plans to shut early for Christmas break
Last week, leaders of the Focus Trust announced all 15 of their schools would close on December 11 as opposed to the original planned date of December 18. This decision came following increasing fers over bthe number of families that could be forced to isolate over Christmas because of positive coronavirus cases. But the Government has been piling pressure on the Focus Trus to reverse their plan to shut a week earlier than planned.
Families with children at the Trust had been told that during the week, children would be expected to continue their studies from home, but was then decided to class it as a normal holiday.
The Department for Education quickly asked the Trust to review this decision, warning it “remains a national priority” to keep schools open full-time and “avoid further disruption to education”.
The Trust has now performed a significant u-turn, writing to parents to inform them schools will not be shutting a week early.
The Government department said “while the plan to commence the holiday early had been made in the best interest of families and staff”, the Trust “received a formal letter directing them to overturn the decision by the DfE”.
The Regional Schools Commissioner also told the Trust that under the recently introduced Coronavirus Act 2020, it could not change term dates for schools because of reasons related to COVID-19.
A request for two inset days at the end of term – instead of the five days’ holiday – has also been turned down.
Chair of the Trust Board Clive Davies, and the Trust’s chief executive Helen Rowland said in a joint statement: “All of our decisions are taken with the best interests of our children, staff and the community in mind.
“This has been a very disruptive and exceptional term for all concerned, with the impact of Covid-19 being felt throughout our schools, resulting in absenteeism and staff shortages across the board.”
“During our discussion on Sunday evening with the RSC we were made aware, for the first time, that under the Coronavirus Act 2020, individual trusts have no academy freedoms to make decisions for Covid related reasons, such as setting their own term dates.
“Although we are very disappointed at having to inform our staff and families of a change to our plans, we accept the DfE’s position and have reverted to the original term days.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to the roll out of increased and faster testing, and we hope that schools will be amongst the first to benefit from this development.
“Our full team remains committed to providing our children with a first-class education.”
This is a breaking story. More to follow…
Published at Tue, 24 Nov 2020 11:27:00 +0000No tags for this post.