Schools could be closed until after EASTER: Tory MPs demand urgent route out of lockdown amid fears children face another THREE MONTHS of home school despite further drop in UK cases
- Matt Hancock fuelled growing fears schools will stay closed beyond the stated date of February half-term
- Boris Johnson also said there would be no ‘open sesame’ reopening of society when lockdown was eased
- And one academy boss said the current ‘mood music’ was schools would not opened before Easter holidays
- Steve Chalke, of Oasis Academy Trust, warned parents: ‘I think they will miss the second half of term as well’
- Now education insiders say date for reopening was ‘never going to be’ February and may stretch past March
Despite the UK recording another drop in Covid cases, school bosses believe millions of pupils now face the prospect of being home schooled until the start of April. It means students will have faced almost a year of on-and-off disruption to their education.
Fears of an April return were further compounded as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned at the weekend that it would not be possible to start to lift lockdown restrictions in England until March.
And yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock cast more doubt on a March re-opening for schools when he declined to say that a loosening of lockdown rules meant a return for students.
The warning comes as disgruntled Tory backbenchers last night demanded the Government produce an urgent ‘road map’ out of lockdown – with measures due to be lifted in mid-February.
But as the number of people vaccinated reached 4million yesterday and infection figures continued to fall, with Britain recording another 37,535 new cases, down a fifth from last Monday, Boris Johnson last night defied fresh demands to say how and when the brutal restrictions in England will ease.
Meanwhile, Government sources last night said it was too early to say when schools would reopen, with one source saying: ‘It’s about what the health picture is. If lockdown does its job then schools could be the first thing to open.’
The Prime Minister has repeatedly vowed that the reopening of schools will be his priority when lockdown is eased – but no date has ever been set.
And now the leader of a major academy chain has warned the ‘mood’ is for schools to shut until the Easter holidays – at the start of April.
Steve Chalke, head of the Oasis academy chain, which runs 48 schools, said: ‘I don’t think schools will reopen until post Easter. I think they will miss the second half of term as well.’
Despite the UK recording another drop in Covid cases, school bosses believe millions of pupils face being home schooled until the start of April. Pictured: Pupils wear protective face masks