Concern over lack of government cash to aid safe return to school

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 July 2020

Mark school before coronavirus lockdown.    Picture: Wessex Learning Trust

Mark school before coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Wessex Learning Trust

Wessex Learning Trust

Concerns have been raised about a lack of Government funding to help schools put in place Covid-19-secure measures in preparation for students’ return in September.

Cllr Catherine Gibbons.Cllr Catherine Gibbons.

The news comes after Prime Minster Boris Johnson announced in June that students in all years should return to school full-time at the start of the next academic year.

Government guidelines state that, while coronavirus is present ‘in the community’, judgments should be made at ‘school-level’ about how to minimise risks of Covid-19 spreading, and education providers should offer a ‘full educational experience’ for children and young people in September.

The advice also states that schools should use their ‘existing resources’ to make arrangements to welcome children back, and that there are ‘no plans at present’ to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.

North Somerset Council’s executive member for children’s services and lifelong learning, Catherine Gibbons, said: “We welcome the aim for all children to return to school in September.

Chief Executive Wessex Learning Trust, Gavin Ball.Chief Executive Wessex Learning Trust, Gavin Ball.

“It’s vital for their education, health and wellbeing, and schools are working hard to make sure they adhere to the guidelines.

“I do feel the government should be looking at helping schools with these additional costs, as there are no plans to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.

“Schools are doing a fantastic job in these difficult times, and our children’s education must be right at the top of the Government’s agenda.”

The Wessex Learning Trust, which covers 13 schools in the Cheddar Valley including The Kings of Wessex in Cheddar, Lympsham and East Brent academies, is putting plans in place to welcome students back in September.

Trust chief executive Gavin Ball said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming all our students back in due course.

“This is, naturally, going to take an immense amount of planning and coordination, and I thank you for being patient for the release of information from your school on this matter.

“The trust is continuing to work with our executive headteachers,
headteachers and heads of schools to ensure that meticulous plans are in place to ensure our students are fully supported in September.”

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