Labour urges Gavin Williamson to set out a 'credible' plan to reopen schools

28 January 2021, 22:34

Labour is urging the Education Secretary to set out a "credible" plan to reopen schools
Labour is urging the Education Secretary to set out a "credible" plan to reopen schools. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Labour is urging the Education Secretary to set out a "credible" plan to reopen schools to all pupils after their reopening was pushed back to at least March.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he hopes to begin easing the third national lockdown in England by reopening classrooms from March 8 at the earliest.

But the Government is yet to provide further information on whether all year groups will return at the same time or if every region will return simultaneously.

Shadow education secretary Kate Green wrote to Gavin Williamson urging him on Friday to set out a plan on the return to classrooms.

"We need a national effort to get all children back into school with a credible delivery plan from the Government which includes vaccinating school staff over half term and sets out measures to help make schools Covid-secure," she added in a statement.

Shadow education secretary Kate Green wrote to Gavin Williamson urging him on Friday to set out a plan on the return to classrooms
Shadow education secretary Kate Green wrote to Gavin Williamson urging him on Friday to set out a plan on the return to classrooms. Picture: PA

"The Government must finally give parents, pupils and school staff clarity about their return to school."

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, Conservative former minister Harriett Baldwin earlier insisted school reopening should begin in a staggered way before March 8.

During a debate on international education, Ms Baldwin said: "I never thought we would be marking UN International Day of Education at a time when our own schools in the UK are closed to so many children.

Read more: Gove tells LBC 'none of us can predict the future' over March 8 reopening of schools

"I share the Government's aspiration to reopen our schools as soon as possible and would welcome an even earlier date than March 8 by reopening classes in a staged way, even for part of the day with reception to year 2 back first and then gradually adding additional classes."

Gove: “None of us can predict future” on March 8 reopening of schools

Mr Johnson has repeatedly insisted schools are safe and "Covid-secure" but said they increase the spread of coronavirus within the community.

He told a Downing Street press conference earlier this week that the new reopening date was the "earliest" date that was "sensible" and safe for children to go back.

He said that "the problem is not that schools are unsafe - teachers and headteachers have worked heroically to make sure they are safe, they are Covid-secure."

Read more: 'We tried everything we could,' Jenrick tells LBC after UK passes 100,000 Covid deaths

It is currently unclear whether all students will return from the 8 March, or whether it will be phased in by region and age group.

Mr Johnson told the press briefing: "The problem is that by definition schools bring many households together and that contributes to the spread of the virus within the community and drives up the R."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A Scottish council has come under fire for handing almost 2,000 penalties in the first 11 days of its low emission zone

Scottish council under fire after handing out 2,000 fines in first 11 days of new low emission zone

Graziano Di Prima has broken his silence

Strictly Come Dancing pro Graziano Di Prima breaks silence after being 'sacked' following misconduct claims

Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Graziano Di Prima has been sacked by the BBC

Strictly Come Dancing pro 'sacked' after claims of gross misconduct towards former partner Zara McDermott

Prince William will be at the game on Sunday

‘Just one last push’: Prince William’s message to the England team ahead of Euro 2024 final against Spain

The family of the three women who were killed in a crossbow attack have said they are "devastated"

‘We are devastated’, John Hunt and surviving daughter say, after his wife and two daughters killed in crossbow attack

At least 71 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli air strike

‘Dozens killed in air strike on Gaza humanitarian zone’ as Israel says it was targeting Hamas leaders

The Princess of Wales is set to attend the Wimbledon Men's final

Princess of Wales to attend Wimbledon men's singles final in second public appearance since cancer diagnosis

Comedian John Bishop has divided fans after announcing he will be changing the time of his gig on Sunday

Wireless Festival and Comedian John Bishop spark controversy after changing set times for England's Euro 2024 final

Joe Biden has insisted he is staying in the race

Democrat donors ‘withhold $90m unless Biden stands down’ as Obama and Pelosi ‘oppose President’s re-election bid’

Two suitcases with human remains inside were found in Bristol

Armed police arrest man, 34, at train station following discovery of human remains in Bristol and west London

Princess Anne has returned to public duties for the first time since her accident

Princess Anne 'can't remember a single thing' about horse-related accident as she returns to public duties

Tony Blair was among a star-studded guest list at the wedding of the son of India's richest man

Tony Blair, Boris Johnson and wrestling star John Cena among guests at lavish wedding of Asia's richest man

Jay Slater went missing nearly a month ago

Jay Slater ‘looked unwell’ hours before he went missing, says Tenerife nightclub waitress who ‘gave him water’

Actor Alec Baldwin reacts during his trial for involuntary manslaughter

Alec Baldwin weeps in court as judge dismisses manslaughter case against actor after fatal shooting on film set

Police have named 24-year-old Colombian national Yostin Andres Mosquera as suspect

Suspect named in manhunt as more human remains found in flat after two bodies discovered in suitcases in Bristol

Patrice Evra has been given a suspended 12-month sentence after being found guilty of abandoning his family for over two years

Man United legend Evra given suspended 12-month prison sentence after being found guilty of abandoning family