Hackney’s primary schools will remain closed next week after the Government reversed its decision and backed the Council’s calls to delay reopening in light of high coronavirus infection rates in Hackney and serious concerns from schools and public health professionals about the welfare of staff, pupils and their families.
Primary schools in Hackney had been due to reopen for the spring term on Monday 4 January after the borough was not included in a list of “worst-hit” areas where the Government has asked primary schools to delay reopening due to high infection rates. This was despite Hackney having the 30th highest infection rate in the country and among the top 10 infection rates in London, with 23 other London boroughs asked to delay reopening – including those with far lower infection rates and neighbouring boroughs such as Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Newham.
The government u-turn follows calls by Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinette Bramble to reconsider the decision, which were backed by London Directors of Public Health, London Directors of Children’s Services and other local authorities in London.
The changes will mean that primary schools remain closed except to children of critical workers and vulnerable children. Secondary schools across England are already closed to almost all pupils for the first two weeks of term, until 18 January. Children of key workers and vulnerable children are expected to attend from the 4 January and those in exam years 11 and 13 will return after one week, on 11 January.
Find out more: Contingency framework implemented across London boroughs