Two Banbury area primary schools will not reopen after Christmas break due to Covid-19

Two Banbury area primary schools will not reopen after Christmas break due to Covid-19.

Monday, 4th January 2021, 12:44 am
Latest News: a primary school in South Warwickshire near Banbury has decided not to reopen after the Christmas holiday break due to Covid-19

At the moment, the Government advice is for all primary schools to reopen but many teaching staff have been meeting today (Sunday) to discuss the matter, with many having safety concerns.

A Banbury primary school, St Mary's Church of England Primary School in Southam Road, Banbury, will be closed from tomorrow, Monday January 4.

St Mary's Primary posted the following message on its website (http://www.banburystmarysschool.co.uk/) notifying people of its closure: "Following the directive of the Teacher Unions we are unable to open the school safely.

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"We will be reopening on Tuesday 5th January to children of frontline critical workers and vulnerable children only. We will be in touch with families to check if you are in these categories during Monday. All other children will learn through our home learning provision and will be in touch with you to support how you access this.

"This information has fallen on school leadership teams with little notice and we apologise for the inconvenience this will cause.

"I am sure you are aware Cherwell, and Banbury especially, has particularly high Covid rates at this time. We continue to encourage you to keep the Tier 4 restrictions so that we can return to school together as soon as possible."

The South Warwickshire school, Kineton Primary, will also not reopen to pupils on Tuesday, January 5.

Staff will move to supporting remote learning and the learning of vulnerable children and those of critical (key) workers. Remote learning will be provided by teachers via Tapestry reception and year one and GoogleClassroom for year two - six.

The decision for the school to not reopen came after the National Education Union (NEU) had advised its members that in their view, it is unsafe for staff to return to work and that primary schools should therefore move to remote learning for the first two weeks of January. Officials at the school made the decision after learning the majority of the members of teaching staff and some support staff will be following their union's guidance.

The school sent out an email to all parents and carers today, Sunday January 3, advising them of the decision.

Tomorrow, Monday January 4, is a pre-scheduled teacher work day (Inset Day).

The school has also encouraged parents and carers to contact the school (by filling out a form) if they are a 'critical worker' and wish their child to attend school next week.

The Banbury Guardian will be listing any schools who will not be reopening next week as originally planned. Anyone who knows of other schools in the Banbury area who will not be reopening can contact [email protected]

Many secondary schools across the area will be returning on a staggered basis.

On the issue of schools reopening next week, Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, which represents councils across England, said: “Keeping schools and early years settings open for the wellbeing and education of children and young people is hugely important, for those children’s life chances and for working parents.

“However, councils know many parents and teachers across the country are anxious about schools and early years settings opening next week amid rising infections rates.

“The safety of staff, parents and families has always been absolutely paramount and councils have been working hard with schools throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure they can remain open as safely as possible.

“It is important that schools have the local flexibility to take decisions about reopening - in consultation with their councils - based on the latest public health advice and data. This is vital to reassure parents and carers that it is safe for their schools to reopen.”