Sadly the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson MP, has not yet responded to my email regarding schools closures.
I will provide an update as soon as I receive a response, but will outline the current situation below:
As well as writing to the Secretary of State, the Council have written to all primary schools this afternoon (secondary schools are not due to fully open until later in January).
Our view is that primary schools should only be open for the first two weeks of term to vulnerable pupils and children of key workers due to the local and national evidence of the increase in cases and the rapid transmission of the new variant of Coronavirus.
The Council recognises the challenges that so many schools are facing to re-open and would like greater clarity from the DfE that recognises the context of Bedford Borough.
Under the current guidance from the Department for Education, it remains each schools decision about whether they can safely open in line with their own risk assessment. The Council will support every school's decision and will be available to advise and support each school.
We realise the uncertainty for schools, parents and pupils is causing extra anxiety whilst we await a reply and clarity from the Department for Education.
We have asked if a decision is made to delay opening the the schools ensure that remote learning is in place, and that any children eligible for Free School Meals can still receive food/vouchers that they are entitled to.
I know many schools have already contacted parents to inform them of their decision. If you have not heard, you may need to contact the school direct.