Home Secretary Priti Patel says she would send her child back to school in June

20 May 2020, 10:20

By Asher McShane

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she would be confident in sending her child back to school on the planned reopening day of June 1.

Ms Patel, speaking to Nick Ferrari this morning on LBC, was asked if she’d be confident sending her child back in June.

She said: “I would be…. children’s education is absolutely vital.

“Where I work in government I also see what happens to vulnerable children and children who basically suffer a great deal of educational disadvantage.

Priti Patel said she would send her children back to school
Priti Patel said she would send her children back to school. Picture: LBC

“We’re working right now and rightly so with the unions, with schools, with our brilliant department for education as well, working night and day to look at how we can bring a package of measures together to get schools open for the first of June.

“There’s guidance that’s gone to schools already in terms of smaller classes, staggering lunches.

“This isn’t rushing back to a normal school day.

When asked about possible sanctions against local authorities who decide not to open schools on June 1, she said: “We are not at the first of June yet.

"It’s wrong to say X needs a sanction or Y needs a sanction.

"We’ve got to protect people - teachers as well as children. We have to find sensible and pragmatic and practical solutions to this.

"I've seen some heroic teachers do amazing things during this crisis to keep schools open for children of key workers and vulnerable children."

Asked whether scientific advice given to the Government on provision of care for care homes would be published, Ms Patel said: "Sage will be publishing their advice. They do that themselves, so I can't tell you when that will be."

She went on to praise "our Sage colleagues, the health professionals, scientific advisers for the way in which they have worked with Government", adding: "Back in March we were absolutely, let's be very crude about this, we were terrified about the NHS, overwhelming the NHS.

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"We have always looked at this holistically. I know that because I sit in many meetings and I'm at the forefront of many of the discussions as well.

"We've always had guidance for care homes in the same way in which we've had guidance for people that work in the NHS and in care homes, having testing for workers but also having the support.

"I think it's wrong to say it was about one part of the care system versus another."

Asked if she agreed with an indication from Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey that some scientific advice was wrong, she said: "I don't know, because at the end of the day I have been working with Sage, in every department, in my department I have a fantastic scientific adviser who is part of Sage. We work collectively and I will pay tribute to everybody across the board. I see everybody working in a united way."