‘Schools are safe’: Govt attempts to persuade parents to send kids to class

A new campaign to persuade parents that it is safe to send children back to school next month is being launched by the government.

In an effort to restore full time education in England, ministers want families to be aware of the measures being used to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission.

The #backtoschoolsafely campaign “matters on a very, very large scale,” according to headteacher Andrea Parker, who is the face of the campaign.

The government has launched a PR campaign to get kids into schools
Image: The government’s campaign to get kids into schools will launch on Monday

She told Sky News: “We’ve got children who need that time with their friends, they need that time to play, they need that time to socialise.

“Children are in the habit of going to school every single day and overnight that has not happened… it’s been quite traumatic for all of our children.

“We really do need to make a commitment to get all our children back in.”

Schools are aiming to stagger start times, use classroom and year-group bubbles and increase hygiene to improve safety for staff and pupils.

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Speaking ahead of the campaign launch on Monday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The government is committed to doing everything necessary to deliver on our national priority of all students returning to schools and colleges in September.

“All children deserve to be back in school as it is the best place for their education and well-being.”

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He added: “I know families are growing more confident that schools and colleges are ready and waiting to get back to teaching, with the right protective measures in place.

“As the start of term approaches, now is the time for families to think about the practicalities of returning to school in September, whether that’s reassuring themselves that school is the best place for their child to be, or planning the school run to avoid public transport where possible.”

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has warned Boris Johnson that it is his “moral responsibility” to open schools next month, saying in the Mail on Sunday: “I don’t just want all children back at school next month, I expect them back at school. No ifs, no buts, no equivocation.”

Labour has backed the decision to reopen schools in September, but has said an effective test and trace system must be in place, too.

Terry Cowan is a parent sending a child back to school in Scotland
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The government is under pressure to get schools open, after abandoning its pledge to get most pupils back into classrooms in June.

Mr Williamson is also facing further rising anger after the A-level results scandal in which thousands of students had their results downgraded by an algorithm, with many saying their lives have been ruined in the scandal.

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