MINISTERS will hand councils and schools millions of pounds to put on extra bus services to get all kids back in the classroom.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson secured the package from the Treasury.
Government medical advisers have warned that the biggest risk of schools reopening next month are possible coronavirus spikes caused by pupils and parents travelling to and from the premises.
Extra buses mean local authorities can make social distancing easier — and kids can avoid using public transport where there is greater chance of transmission.
They will also cut the number of parents doing the school run with their kids – further reducing the health risk.
Downing Street reaffirmed Boris Johnson’s vow to ensure all schools will reopen fully at the start of the autumn term next month.
3 moves to boost learning
By Robert Halfon
FOR millions of kids, the lockdown has been nothing short of a disaster.
Academic studies found that 2.3million children have been learning for less than an hour per day.
In a week in mid-April, just five per cent of vulnerable children were at schools, which were open.
This cannot be allowed to happen again.
First, the PM should set out clear guidance to schools as to what is expected from September.
Second, Ofsted should work with schools to en- sure all pupils receive the best education possible.
Third, the Government should not allow union opposition to reopening.
The lockdown in north west England had sparked fears that schools there would remain shut.
The handouts are a pre-emptive strike from ministers amid fears unions and parents will oppose schools reopening on the grounds that transporting kids raises the risk of transmission.
Full details of the funding for school buses will be unveiled later in the month.
School start times will be staggered to enable more trips outside of peak hours.
Government advice on the reopening of schools has also said schools should consider “walking buses” — where a supervised group of kids are walked to and from school.
- Education watchdog Ofqual has warned that exams for next year could also be delayed by Covid-19.
THE SUN SAYS
IN one month our schools MUST reopen for every pupil. Boris Johnson cannot U-turn on that.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson must work seven days a week on it. We hope he has no holiday plans.
It is vital to relaunch our kids’ education. It is vital for their mental health. It is vital for our economy that they return to school and their parents to work.
And it is vital for the Tories politically — a point not lost on the teaching unions and the Left generally. What other explanation can there be for their obstinacy and scaremongering?
Scientists say children are less likely than adults to catch or spread Covid and vanishingly unlikely to end up in hospital, let alone die.
There is NO recorded case in the world of a pupil giving the virus to a teacher.
That carries no weight with the Government’s enemies. But they must be faced down in a way Mr Williamson failed to do before the summer term petered out.
He will need both carrot and stick to convince some mums and dads.
Pumping millions into extra school buses to make social distancing easier and avoid public transport is a sensible start.
But parents must be reminded their child’s attendance will again be compulsory, with fines for not ensuring it.
The PM can help by standing firm if infections rise, as long as hospitalisations and deaths remain low.
He needs to resist being overcome by the memory of his own Covid trauma and the perpetual gloom of chief medic Chris Whitty.
That will not persuade doubting parents. Nor will it lead Britain out of this disaster.
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