School chiefs say they SHOULD re-open from June 1 after unions and councils defy Boris Johnson – The Sun

EDUCATION chiefs have today argued schools should open up from June 1 after teaching unions and councils threatened to go against Boris Johnson.

Academy bosses spoke out against those planning to defy Government instructions to reopen next month over safety fears.

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As part of the phased return to the "new normal", the PM said a return of primary school kids will start from the start of June.

And one of the bosses backing him is Leora Cruddas, chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts, telling heads to crack on with the planning.

She told the Telegraph: "My message to headteachers is that we should start planning to reopen. The planning needs to take a risk based approach, we need to make a full assessment of the risks which relate to site capacity and number of staff.

“We need to be building parental confidence as far as possible with families. Communication with staff, with parents and with communities is crucial.”

It comes after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson demanded teachers "do their duty" and return to work – as a union threatened to sue headteachers if staff are not safe.

The row erupted this week between hardline union chiefs and the government over their decision to reopen schools amid fears young children could spark a deadly second wave of coronavirus.

The union, which represents around 300,000 members, warned teachers will legally be able to refuse returning to the classroom if they do not get the same level of protection as other frontline staff.

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Going against the Government timeline are schools in Liverpool, which will not reopen to all pupils after the city's mayor raised safety fears.

Only the children of key workers and vulnerable children will be allowed in school from June 1, the city council confirmed today.

Mayor Joe Anderson earlier this week said he was "minded to resist" Mr Johnson's partial reopening date over concerns.

The city and wider region has seen some of the UK's highest infection rates for coronavirus, well above the England average.

Doncaster Council also suggested schools there may take a similar stance, revealing they would stick to "a Doncaster-specific approach" in a pointed tweet today.

As crunch talks with Government scientists take place this afternoon, Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of Inspiration Trust which runs 14 schools in East Anglia, said headteachers should "get their act together" and "get on with it".

And Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis trust -which has 35 primaries around England – declared he will reopen his schools from June 1.

CRUNCH TALKS

Mr Williamson said following the talks: "I want to reassure parents and families that we are giving schools, nurseries and other providers all the guidance and support they will need to welcome more children back in a phased way and no earlier than 1 June.

“That’s why we have engaged closely with stakeholders from across the sector throughout the past seven weeks, including the trade unions, and today we arranged a detailed briefing for them with the scientific and medical experts."

But this afternoon the British Medical Association wrote to the National Education Union offering full support over their caution about getting kids back in school in June.

And earlier this week a Kent headteacher told parents he would rather kids "retake a year than die" in his concern about children coming back to school.

Howard Fisher, head of St George's Church of England Primary School in Sheerness, Kent, said he has heard "nothing that would put his mind his rest".

Coronavirus fatalities in the UK have risen to least 33,800 today, including a healthy 30-year-old.

In England, the total number of Covid-19 deaths rose to 24,345 – up 186 from yesterday. Patients were aged between 15 and 99 years old and 10 had no underlying health conditions.

Under lockdown easing plans, Year one and Year six primary school pupils could return to school as early as June 1.

Secondaries will also be reopened for Year 10 and Year 12 pupils under the proposals to get England back to class.

But the plans could now be left in chaos after a government scientific advisor admitted there is a "low confidence" pupils can't spread coronavirus.

The Department of Education's chief scientific advisor, Osama Rahman, also said ministers have no idea if the move could trigger a deadly second wave.

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