A statement from Cllr Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Youth & Children’s Services, on the re-opening of schools
Published: Tuesday, 19th May 2020
"The Prime Minister’s statement last week regarding the reopening of schools has caused a great deal of concern and confusion for schools, staff, parents and young people alike. Sadly further guidance from the DfE and Government has only added to this confusion and raised more questions than it has answered.
"I want to be very clear with the whole Hounslow community that, like all parents and teachers I have spoken to recently, I want schools to re-open as soon as possible but only when it is safe for them to do so. Ensuring the safety of our staff, parents and young people is my highest priority. I am a teacher myself, and also a parent of young children, and I fully share your concerns.
"In the last week my department has written to all headteachers in the borough offering our support and outlining our expectations. We will support all schools in their decision making regarding their re-opening and re-integration of staff and young people, when those decisions are supported by a robust risk assessment. Headteachers, and their senior leaders and governors, with their knowledge of their school are best placed to make a judgement on these critical issues, but the council will offer support and guidance wherever necessary.
"It is highly likely that parents will find that there are different offers across our schools, which will be determined by individual school factors such the size and layout of the site and the number of pupils in each year groups. Some schools may be able to welcome back year group quickly, while others may need more time.
"If they haven’t already, schools will be writing to all parents sharing their plans for re-opening, and in the first instance please direct any queries you have to your child’s school. They will be best placed to help.
"I will continue to listen to the Government, scientific advice, unions, staff, governors, parents and young people, and the position on schools re-opening, like with all things relating to Covid-19, is constantly under review. I also call on the Government to build a consensus on the wider opening of schools that parents, carers, families, teachers and pupils can get behind: publish evidence, work with professionals and unions, get testing and tracing in place, and use learning from other countries."