Which Stevenage schools have opted for remote learning for start of 2021?

East Cambridgeshire District Council are urging business owners to take part in an online Covid-19 s

The number of Stevenage schools who will not reopen due to coronavirus has been growing. Picture: Tim Mossholder / Pexels - Credit: Archant

A large number of primary schools in Stevenage will not be opening today as planned, after advice from teaching unions and reviews of health and safety

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had implored parents to send their kids back today, (Monday, December 4) after insisting there was "no doubt that schools are safe".

But a number of primary schools in Stevenage and the surrounding area have taken matters into their own hands, opting for remote learning rather than a physical return as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in our town.

Following advice from teaching unions, reviews of health and safety risk assessments, number of teachers available and more, the list of schools which have not reopened today includes:

  • St Nicholas Church of England Primary and Nursery
  • Moss Bury Primary School and Nursery
  • The Giles Nursery and Infants School
  • Giles Junior School
  • Martins Wood Primary School
  • Peartree Way Nursery School
  • Knebworth Primary School
  • The Leys Primary and Nursery School
  • Lodge Farm Primary School
  • Ashtree Primary School (Years 3, 5 and 6)
  • Fairlands Primary School
  • Longmeadow Primary School
  • Pixmore Junior School
  • St Vincent De Paul Catholic Primary School
  • Bedwell Primary School
  • Larwood Academy Trust
  • Peartree Spring Primary School
  • Camps Hill Primary School

In Letchworth, Pixmore Junior School has also announced it will return to home learning "due to the number of staff who are currently ill or having to self-isolate, together with a number who have chosen to take union action".

Vulnerable and key workers' children are expected to return to school as normal. This remote learning situation will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Other institutions have inset days today and have promised a decision before tomorrow.

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Cllr Joshua Bennett-Lovell, county councillor for Old Stevenage, offered his support to teaching staff who opted against returning to school today.

In a statement, he said: "Schools must only be open for the most vulnerable children and those of key workers, and support provided to ensure decent online provision made available for at-home working and learning.

"We need to slow the rate of infection as an emergency measure: the government's disastrous inability to control the virus however means that normal school reopening is no longer safe, and is unlikely to be for some time.

"This time should be used to put in place urgent plans for safe reopening in the future, and the introduction of any additional infrastructure to allow this. The government must provide financial support so school staff, parents and students aren't left to pay."

A spokesperson for Herts County Council said: "HCC recognises that, where schools are not confident that they will be able to open and operate safely and effectively due to insufficient teaching staff on Monday, we will offer advice and guidance on a case-by-case basis and accept that for operational reasons the school may need to remain closed. We expect that children of critical workers will continue to attend school, and also vulnerable children.

“Hertfordshire County Council notes the firm expectation of the Prime Minister and the Department of Education that schools will remain open wherever possible and is not advising schools to close on Monday as a matter of policy or infection control, unless located in an area identified by the Government's Contingency Framework.

“We will expect schools to assess their positions on Monday in relation to staffing levels and then plan ahead for the rest of the week.

"We would anticipate that schools will use their normal communications to advise parents of the arrangements for their individual schools.

“We fully appreciate that these are difficult and concerning times for people, however, we do need to consider the importance of education for children of all ages and the mental, behavioural and social benefits that come from being in a school environment.

"Our continued thanks to our school Heads and all the school staff for their constant and incredible work in providing education for all our young people.”

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