Parents criticise primary school over 'crazy' lockdown reopening plans

18 May 2020, 15:05

Desks will be socially distanced
Desks will be socially distanced. Picture: Holywell Village First School Facebook

By Maddie Goodfellow

Parents have spoken out criticising a primary school after plans to keep their children safe after lockdown were posted on the school's Facebook page.

Holywell Village First School in Northumberland revealed its lockdown reopening plans to parents - including making children stand in hoops during playtime and giving allocated toilet breaks.

But parents were critical of the measures suggested by the school. It comes after the government announcement that primary schools could reopen in June.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Holywell Village First School (HVFS), in Northumberland, unveiled a number of proposed methods which it could take to keep pupils safe.

School officials said they planned to remove toys and books in classrooms, and said children would be made to clean their own cuts if they fall over.

The post read: "If they fall over or have a toileting accident they will be encouraged to change themselves and clean their scrape or cut.

"We have sourced PPE (following the COVID 19 guidance for Educational Settings) which is for use only for staff protection should a child vomit, not for trips, falls or scrapes.

"If it is not possible for the child to clean themselves in the event of an accident, the parent will be called to collect them so they can do that at home."

Children will have to use 'play bubbles' in playgrounds
Children will have to use 'play bubbles' in playgrounds. Picture: Holywell Village First School Facebook

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The school said the "drastic" changes were enforced to "keep staff and children as safe as possible".

In a statement, Cath McEvoy-Carr, Executive Director of Adults and Children's Services, said: “We understand the concerns of parents and carers, but keeping our pupils and staff safe in schools in these unprecedented times is our top priority.

"We know that all our headteachers are carefully considering how they can safely re-open their schools to pupils and staff. We will be working closely with them to review the guidance provided by the Government, and how they can implement these new safety procedures and take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their children, their families and their employees.”

However the post, which was shared thousands of times, received criticism from parents.

Mum-of-three Kristina Richards, 29, told Metro: "How on earth can children in reception and year one have an allocated toilet time? They are young kids and if they need to go to the toilet then they need to.

"No child aged 4/5 should have to clean up their own cuts. And if they can’t do it then a parent will be called. What if that parent is now back to work?

"Does that mean this child has to wait maybe an hour until a parent arrives to change their child’s soiled clothes or clean their bleeding legs? It’s ludicrous."

It comes after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said on Saturday that the phased reopening of schools from June 1 will go ahead as planned if coronavirus cases continue to fall.

Speaking at the government's daily press conference, he said: "We have been quite clear all along, that we’d only start inviting more children back into schools when our five key tests have been met. That position has not changed, nor will it, and it is what is guiding all of our actions.

"But we do want to see children back in school because we know how much children grow and benefit from being in school. We can now start for planning for a very limited return to school for some pupils, potentially as early as next month."

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have said they will not be following government advice to reopen schools. In England, Liverpool and Hartlepool councils have also told schools to remain shut.