But government sources now recognize that – with just over six weeks before school closes for the summer – practical arrangements are too difficult for all children to return.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson is due to update on the reopening of schools on Tuesday, and is expected to concede publicly that many elementary students will not return to their classes until the new school year in the fall.
This recognition was welcomed by school leaders Paul Whiteman, secretary general of the National Association of Head Teachers, saying, “If confirmed, we are pleased to see that the government will not force the impossible. Schools will continue to use their flexibility, intelligently, to provide the best for all students in their school. ”
Attendance statistics collected by the Ministry of Education and released on Tuesday should confirm that only half of the students in the three eligible age groups returned to school last week.
Attendance figures represent a setback for Johnson’s efforts to use schools as a lever to boost the economy. Johnson’s “roadmap” for breaking out of the lockdown, released last month, said, “The government’s ambition is for all elementary school children to return to school before summer for a month if possible, although it will remain under study. ”
But Johnson’s announcement of a June 1 return was met with skepticism by parents and opposition from school unions and local authorities, wary of health and safety concerns for staff and students in classrooms of aging and cramped class of England.
Whiteman, who represents the leaders of the majority of primary schools in England, said: “Throughout the foreclosure, principals and their teams have worked hard to meet the needs of all their students. This term, give them the flexibility they need to balance the needs of returning students and children who continue to learn at home.
“The return of all students before the end of this term will present insoluble practical barriers if the hierarchies of control must be maintained. The age groups had to be divided into groups of 15, using other classes and employing teachers from other years. “