"We built Nightingale Hospitals. Where are Nightingale schools to save our children?"

18 June 2020, 14:45 | Updated: 18 June 2020, 14:48

By Adrian Sherling

This paediatrician called on the government to re-open schools, insisting that it is vital for the welfare of children.

Schools are still only open for a small number of children with many not expected to return until September at the earliest.

Dr Sunil Bhopal was one of 1,500 of the UK's leading paediatricians to write to the government to tell them how important it is to get children back to school.

And his interview with Shelagh Fogarty persuaded a lot of people.

He said: "Schools are so key for how we, as a whole society, choose to look after our children. Parents can't do it all. Households can't do it all.

"Schools look after the physical health of children. They allow them to run around and have fun.

Shelagh heard a great argument why schools should re-open
Shelagh heard a great argument why schools should re-open. Picture: LBC / PA

"Schools look after the mental health of children. They support children through the most difficult of times. Teachers are just brilliant at this. Teachers know how to get children through the types of trauma that they face through three months of lockdown stuck at home.

"For children's brains to work, for their neuronal connections to keep forming, for them to keep developing their personalities, they need to play, they need to laugh, they need to have fun, they need to fall over in the playground.

"There's lots that needs to happen at school for them to develop into the adults we want them to develop into.

"Where has the big thinking and bold vision been in government? Where are the Nightingale schools?

"If we can rescue the economy through a furlough scheme, if we can rescue the NHS through Nightingale Hospitals, then surely we can use the same sort of ambition to look after our children."

Hear his powerful interview at the top of the page.

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