'Right to keep school return under review', says West Norfolk MP
The North West Norfolk MP, James Wild, says the return of pupils to schools should remain under review, after thousands of children experienced a disrupted start to the new term today.
A total of 16 schools in the borough are now known to have been fully or partially shut today following action by teaching unions.
And, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to address the nation this evening, there is the possibility of all schools being closed for an extended period.
Mr Wild said this afternoon: “The classroom is the best place for children to learn and it is the most disadvantaged pupils who suffer the most when schools are closed.
“Schools have worked hard over Christmas to be Covid-19 secure for teachers and pupils and we should do all we can to keep children learning safely in the classroom.
“But with rising Covid-19 infection rates there is understandable concern and some schools in North West Norfolk have paused re-opening as they assess staffing levels.
“Given the changing situation it is right that this position remains under review and follows public health advice.”
Today's disruption follows weekend advice by the National Education Union for its members working in primary settings not to go into the classroom on safety grounds.
It accused the Government, which last week announced a phased start to the spring term, of failing to protect pupils, staff and the wider community.
Other teaching unions have called for a full move to online learning.
A total of 12 schools were closed, including the Fairstead Primary in Lynn and the South Wootton Infant and Junior Schools.
Others closed by the disruption were the primaries in Brancaster, Docking, Great Massingham, Harpley, Terrington St John, Walpole Highway, Watlington and West Walton.
The Brancaster school said staff had "exercised their contractual right not to attend until they feel it is safe to do so."
Four others - Hillcrest Primary in Downham, the schools in Gayton and Wormegay, plus the Rosebery Short Stay School in Lynn - were partially shut.