Catholic educators have welcomed the Government’s prioritising of the re-opening of schools as one of the first steps of its roadmap out of lockdown, saying it is important for children’s health, development and wellbeing.
Announcing his roadmap out of lockdown earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all students will begin to return to face-to-face education in England on 8thMarch.
The Catholic Education Service (CES) welcomed the announcement, as it praised teachers for their “tireless” work and dedication throughout the difficult year.
“Given the importance of education on children’s health and wellbeing, the Government is right to prioritise the opening of schools,” a CES spokesperson told The Catholic Universe. “This will be welcome news to many millions of families across the country. Teachers in Catholic schools have worked tirelessly to ensure that Catholic schools remained open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.”
St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, a partnership of the Catholic Voluntary Academies in the Diocese of Nottingham, also welcomed the announcement and reassured parents and carers that the children’s safety and wellbeing will continue to be its top priority.
“All of our head teachers will be in touch with parents and carers shortly about the arrangements for pupils’ return,” Sean McClafferty, Trust Chief Executive, told The Catholic Universe. “There has been much talk nationally around what children will be offered in order to ‘catch up’ following this lockdown period. As a Trust, we have written to parents and carers to reassure them that their child’s safety and wellbeing have, and always will be, our top priorities.
The Trust is made up of 20 primary schools and five secondary schools in Derbyshire and the surrounding counties. Mr McClafferty said the schools had been delivering “high quality” remote learning during the lockdown period, which, he said, will stand pupils in good stead when they return to school.
“Staff across all of our schools will be well prepared for pupils’ return and will be equipped with the skills and tools to spot gaps in learning so we have urged parents not to worry about this,” said Mr McClafferty.
“First and foremost, we want children to return to school feeling safe and well and most importantly, happy to be back in the classroom with their teachers and friends. Our staff are very much looking forward to seeing all children back in school.”
The Government has advised staff and students in secondary schools and colleges to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained and as a temporary extra measure.
Wraparound childcare for primary and secondary pupils will also resume from 8th March where necessary to enable parents to access work, education or medical care.
Picture: Prime Minister Boris Johnson participates in a workshop with school children in this file photo, dated 31st January 2020.