“We should salute the many teachers and school leaders who have been keeping most of Bradford’s Schools open for children of key workers and those who are vulnerable throughout this difficult period and also for ensuring that children staying at home had programmes of work to follow.
·It’s disappointing that only a minority of those children entitled to attend have taken up the opportunity to do so - as ever it is those children from more disadvantaged backgrounds who tend to miss out most.
Now we need to follow the Government guidance to start getting more children back into our schools. Research published recently (including from the Sutton Trust, the IFS and the Children’s Commissioner) have revealed the negative impact the long term lack of schooling is likely to have on the life chances of disadvantaged children with widening educational inequalities and less social mobility.
Unfortunately overall levels of educational attainment ln Bradford are already poor – the continued lack of access to schools will make things significantly worse.
·Whilst the health and safety of pupils and staff always is always a priority but we have to accept that there are no fail safe options – but the scientific consensus and evidence from Europe suggests this can be done safely. We can’t wait for a vaccine – it must be a priority to get our children back into our schools in safe and controlled way.
·The Council should show some leadership on this rather than acting like it is a neutral bystander - it should be an active participant encouraging and supporting our primary schools to re-open to more children and actively reassuring parents that it is safe to send their children back to school..
Some children will not have been to schools for over 20 weeks if they have to wait until September. It’s vital that the Council take action now to plan for some targeted educational provision to be made during the long summer holidays.”