Four year groups at a Nottinghamshire school will be unable to return to the classroom on Monday as teachers followed their union’s view that the current Covid situation is not safe to work in.
Sutton Bonington Primary School children in Reception, Year 1, 2 and 3 will be taught remotely by teachers from January 4. Describing the situation as “extremely inconvenient for parents”, headteacher at the school, Lee Shilton, outlined the situation.
In a letter to parents on Sunday January 3 he said: “Yesterday and today, the NEU teaching union have advised their members that, in their view, it is unsafe for their members to return to school at this point.
“I received notification from NEU staff earlier this afternoon that they would be following this advice. Hence, I regretfully inform you that the following classes will be closed tomorrow:
- Class 1
- Class 2
- Class 3
“The remaining classes – class 4, class 5 and class 6 will remain open at this point.”
Mr Shilton added in his letter: “Due to the lateness of this union intervention, we have not had the time to arrange for the Key Worker/vulnerable children in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 to return to school to be taught by other staff.
“This provision will be organised as soon as possible and parents in these classes will be notified of the arrangements at the earliest possible convenience. I appreciate that this announcement coming at approximately 3pm on the Sunday before schools were due to open on January 4th is extremely inconvenient for parents but due to a large number of staff following their union’s guidance, we cannot open safely for these classes as we do not have suitable staffing supervision in place.”
Although the school is physically closed from Monday for children in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3, the teachers in these classes will be providing lessons remotely.
Elsewhere in Nottinghamshire, Farmilo Primary School and Nursery in Mansfield will only partially re-open the school to key worker and vulnerable children from January 4.
The school said it feels that the risk is too high at the moment to fully reopen and has a duty of care to everyone in the community.
It fears it cannot guarantee the safety of the staff, children and the whole school community if it reopens to everyone.
And children at a Nottingham primary school will be expected in for the new term after the headteacher said they would be staying open.
After carrying out risk assessments and consulting with the city council and public health experts, Westglade Primary School will be fully open for all pupils on January 4.
The Top Valley school said it was told in these discussions that Nottingham’s Covid rate is “relatively low” compared to London where school closures have been brought in.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said parents should send their children to primary schools that are open in England on Monday.
Mr Johnson told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday January 3: “Yes, absolutely they should in areas where schools are open.
“We have really fought very hard throughout this pandemic across the country to keep schools open for lots of reasons.
“Schools are safe. It is very, very important to stress that.
“The risk to kids, to young people is really very, very small indeed.
“The risk to staff is very small.”