I know that after many weeks at home, parents and pupils alike are desperate to return to the classroom, and all the educational, social and mental health benefits that this will bring.
I recognise that the safety of teachers, pupils and the wider community must be the leading priority when phasing in the re-opening of schools. The Government’s decision to limit the reopening of Primary schools to those at the most critical stages in education, and to delay secondary school reopening until September, highlights the delicate situation we are currently in and the need to continue following Public Health guidelines.
I hope to see children back in school as soon as possible and whilst I am saddened that Lancashire County Council has so far felt unable to reopen local primary schools, I understand the reasoning behind this decision.
Nevertheless, I am not satisfied with the communication and short notice of this situation. I, along with parents, only discovered this decision mere days prior to the planned reopening, and I know that the short notice of this decision has come as a shock to both parents and pupils.
Having previously held conversations with Lancashire County Council, I am concerned that these prohibitive issues, such as a lack of PPE, were not raised at the time. I have been, and remain, ready to assist. As a Member of Parliament, I am in regular contact with my Parliamentary colleagues, and Ministers, who I am more than happy to approach to help resolve any issues preventing schools from re-opening.
This is a highly important issue for parents in Fylde and across Lancashire, and I have written to Lancashire County Council to seek an explanation for this decision and to offer my assistance in satisfying their worries. Please be assured that I will continue to support Lancashire County Council and the Government in finding a way to reopen schools in a way that is safe for those involved.
It is clear that these prolonged closures will most affect those from a disadvantaged background, and I am supportive of the Prime Minister’s desire to see educational provision made to support students over the summer period, whether that be physically or via resources to be used at home.