When will schools in Sheffield reopen and which year groups will go back first?

It is the question that all parents are asking, but when exactly will schools in Sheffield reopen?

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 12:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 12:57 pm

Schools in the UK have been closed to most pupils since March 20, three days before the country went into its two-month-long coronavirus ‘lockdown’.

During this time, schools have remained open for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.

The Government announced last month that it wanted all schools to reopen on June 1, but many local authorities have recommended delaying this.

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Stock image of a primary school classroom (photo: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire).

Last week, Sheffield’s director of public health Greg Fell said he would take a decision on Monday on whether to recommend they reopen on June 15.

Yesterday, however, Sheffield Council said a decision hadn’t yet been made but would be taken within the next few days.

The Government’s policy was to reopen schools in phases, with reception, Year 2 and Year 6 going back first, followed by other year groups later in the year.

However, the Government has today dropped plans to get all primary pupils back into school for at least four weeks before the summer holidays.

They now say it will be left up to schools to decide how quickly they go back and which pupils they open to first.

When they reopen, schools will have to follow strict guidelines on social distancing, meaning the numbers of pupils in each class will be limited.

Last month, the headteacher of Abbey Lane Primary School said the school environment would be very different when pupils returned and admitted she still had more questions than answers.

She said pupil numbers will be limited to eight per class, while much of the play equipment would be removed and shared areas like book corners would be off-limits.

The Government’s desire to fully reopen schools before the summer holidays has been criticised by teaching unions, who have called for the process to be rethought.

Other campaigners, however, argue that keeping children away from school for many more months will harm their education, with the poorest pupils being hardest hit.