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Council education chief not calling for 'blanket closure' of primary schools

Council education chief not calling for 'blanket closure' of primary schools

by Henry James (January 2021)

LANCASHIRE’S director of schools is not calling for a “blanket closure” of primary schools in the county.

Teaching unions for primary school pupils across England wanted to see a delayed return, however the government decided against keeping them closed after the Christmas holiday.

Responding to questions on whether Lancashire's primary schools should reopen on (Monday, January 4), Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools and Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health and wellbeing, have issued statements. 

Councillor Williamson said: "Since the pandemic began, schools and early years settings across Lancashire have done a remarkable job, continuing to teach young people either remotely or in person in safe, Covid-secure environments. Throughout they ensured that the children's needs come first, with special attention being given to those from the most vulnerable families and from families of key workers.

"Clearly the best place for children is in school, not just for their education but for their social, mental and physical wellbeing. Having looked at the infection rates in Lancashire and following advice from our public health experts, we are not advocating a blanket closure of primary schools across Lancashire at this time. 

"The ultimate decision on whether to open remains with each individual school. Each of those schools knows their own circumstances best, and we will support them to help make the right decision for their pupils and staff." 

Dr Karunanithi added: "Although infection rates are on the rise in Lancashire, we are not in the same situation as London and the South East of England where the new variant has really taken hold. That means that we can and should encourage schools to stay open where they can. Clearly this is a fast-moving situation and must be kept under constant review, both locally and by government."

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