Kirklees Council Leader Shabir Pandor has praised the “tremendous work” of local schools in welcoming more children back into the classroom
Kirklees Council Leader Shabir Pandor has praised the “tremendous work” of local schools in welcoming more children back into the classroom.
The government asked primary schools across England to start opening to wider groups of children from June 1st onwards. In Kirklees, 43 per cent of schools have brought back more children in the first week and it is expected that the figure will rise to around 80 per cent the following week.
Kirklees Council Leader, Cllr Shabir Pandor said:
“Our position has always been clear – we only wanted schools to bring back more children when the time was right for their pupils, staff and families. This was never about meeting a government deadline, it was about making sure teachers, staff, parents and children were safe and it was about supporting more children in the safest possible way.
Every school knows its own circumstances and is taking the approach that best suits the needs of its community. As a responsible local authority, we are standing alongside our schools and supporting them in every way we can.
The vast majority have stayed open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to support vulnerable children and the children of key workers, but accommodating more pupils is a huge challenge. The logistics are very complex and safety is paramount in every decision being taken.
Our schools have done tremendous work in meeting these challenges so that families who would like their child to attend school have the option to do so. This is about a deeply personal choice, and we know many people have strong views on the government’s approach. Some families want their children to stay at home, and we absolutely respect that opinion. For others, a return to school was important for their child’s wellbeing.
By the end of next week, we are expecting that around 80 per cent of primary and middle schools in Kirklees will be open for larger numbers of pupils in certain year groups. Others will follow soon afterwards, and I want to thank our schools for giving families this important choice.”
Cllr Carole Pattison, Cabinet members for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said:
“The welfare of children, families and schools staff is our top priority. At the same time, we know that many children have struggled during lockdown, in terms of both their education and their wellbeing, so a return to the classroom brings real benefits for them.
There have been many practical issues for schools to overcome and we have been providing advice and guidance on creating the safest possible environment. Our view has always been that schools should only open more widely when they believe the time is right so, naturally, this is happening in stages across the district.
There are more than 140 primary and middle schools in Kirklees, which means thousands of children in nursery classes, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 will be able to access a place if their families choose to do so. We are working closely with them to overcome the barriers. Our schools have gone above and beyond during the pandemic and we know they will continue offering fantastic support. I’d also like to thank our schools for working so hard to welcome our children back to school.”