Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has fronted today’s UK Government press conference to shed light on the criteria which must be met in order for schools to reopen.
The minister highlighted a five point principle in order for the reopening of schools – which we will detail below.
Earlier this week, Mr Williamson linked the confirmation of August GCSE and A-level results days and primary school offer day running as normal as milestones that education could soon be back in it’s ‘normal form’.
But what did the Education Secretary say today?
Williamson: I want nothing more than to see schools back
Mr Williamson first thanked those whose contribution was meaning that education can continue before declaring he would like “nothing more” than to “see schools back”.
Can I start by thanking you for all the sacrafices you have already have had to make and that you continue to make. I know this has not been easy but it’s the surest way to protect the NHS and save lives.
Today I would like to say how enormously grateful we are to those who are working in our nurseries, schools, colleges and children’s services. I am profoundly grateful for the vital role they are providing in our communities. They have been keeping schools and nurseries open – including over the Easter holidays – so that our most vulnerable children and children of critical care workers can continue to be supported and they can be cared for.
People are anxious to know when we are going to relax restrictions and when schools are likely to be fully back and open again. Of course, I want nothing more than to get schools back to normal, make sre that children are sat around learning and experiencing the joy of being at school.
You can watch the full press conference above.
The five point principles for education to resume
Mr Williamson then explained that a date cannot yet be set for schools to reopen. Instead highlighting five ‘tests’ which must be achieved in order for a return to normality to be forthcoming.
- Williamson said: “We must protect the NHS’s ability to cope and be sure that it can continue to provide critical care and specialist treatment right across the whole of the UK.”
- “Second,” Williamson said, “we need to see the daily death rates from coronavirus coming down.”
- “Third, we need to have reliable data that shows the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels.”
- “Fourth, we need to be confident that testing capacity and PPE are being managed, with supply able to meet not just today’s demand, but future demand.
- “And fifth, we need to be confident any changes we do make will not risk a second peak of infections.”
He concluded, “When we can be sure we have met these five essential points, we can think about getting children into schools again – learning, mastering new ideas and being with their friends once more.”
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