London Tier 3: Schools in Greenwich to stay open after Government legal threat

15 December 2020, 11:01 | Updated: 15 December 2020, 11:18

Schools in the London borough will remain open
Schools in the London borough will remain open. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Schools in the London borough of Greenwich will remain open after a U-turn by the local authority following a legal threat by the Government.

The move comes after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told Greenwich council to keep schools open to all pupils or it will face legal action.

Schools in the south-east London borough were told to switch to remote learning for most pupils from Monday evening in a letter from council leader Danny Thorpe.

But now the council leader has issued a statement saying the borough will 'reluctantly' keep schools open in order to comply with the Government demand.

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In a statement, Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe said: "With Covid-19 cases rising rapidly in the borough, I cannot agree that this is the correct choice for our schools.

"However, I also cannot justify the use of public funds to fight the decision in the courts.

"Consequently, I have no choice but to ask our schools to keep their doors open to all students rather than just continuing with online learning."

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Explaining his initial decision, Mr Thorpe said: "From the start of this pandemic, both myself and the whole Council have worked tirelessly to support our whole school community. The action we took on Sunday was based solely on doing the right thing for our borough, not a protracted legal argument with the Government, which absolutely nobody needs at the end of an extremely difficult term."

"The Council has issued the following response to the Government, which outlines our serious concerns about forcing our students to attend school in person and our intention to reluctantly comply with the Secretary of State’s directive."