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18.05.20

Bury council opposes plans to re-open schools in June

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Schools and Families at Bury Council Cllr Tamoor Tariq has addressed the headteachers in the area with his position regarding Central Government’s arrangements for re-opening schools.

The letter starts by thanking staff members at Bury council for their ‘unswerving professionalism and dedication’ throughout the crisis before outlining approval from Bury Council’s cabinet not to support the new guidance.

The latest government guidance stated plans to re-open schools to more pupils from June 1st 2020, but Cllr Tariq says there is ‘an unacceptable risk to our pupils, our staff and to the communities of vulnerable people in Bury’ following conversations with the DCS, Karen Dolton, and the Interim Director of Education and Inclusion, Julien Kramer.

Other concerns mentioned included Covid-19 testing, PPE availability, limitations of the proposed track and trace and concerns regarding the ‘inconsistent level of central government support for our recovery.’

He said:

“As the lead Member for Children's Services Schools and Families, I feel the heavy responsibility of protecting our education communities; and the wider community. I therefore have approval from Bury Council’s Cabinet to not open schools to a wider intake of pupils from 1st June.

“I further intend, to lobby our case for a delayed, and more planned restart, with central government through the Secretary of State for Education. We will commit to regularly review this decision if there is clear evidence to suggest any changes around Covid-19 infection rates or if the government brings forward different direction or guidance than it has done currently affecting education.”

He went on to praise the education staff in Bury and thanked them for their brave work before supporting his decision with public feedback:

“I know some of our schools have directly consulted with parents to ask if they intend to send their children into school in line with the governments timescales, and overwhelmingly the response has been NO.”

READ MORE: Council leaders call for £5bn income guarantee backed by Treasury

READ MORE:Welsh Gov £5m funding for mental health in schools now for under 11s

It comes after Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson tweeted last week saying:

“Education is vital, however it does not come before the health & safety of our children & staff. We have responsibility for Safeguarding our children and so I will resist allowing schools to reopen in June. To do so risks our children’s and staff safety.”

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