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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 of Greenwich will remain open after a U-turn by the local authority following a legal threat by the Government.
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.
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."
Following the Government’s legal direction, here is an open letter to families in #greenwich. My main priority has always been children & families across @Royal_Greenwich not a courtroom battle with the Government, and I acted based on data that shows rising cases of #covid19 pic.twitter.com/75N6n00OU9— Dan Thorpe (@DanLThorpe) December 15, 2020
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."