I support the statement made today by Hull’s Labour Councillors on the Government’s decision to re-open schools for some pupils on 1st June as is currently planned. The Government’s lack of engagement with teaching unions and decision to press ahead with that date raises serious concerns for the safety of children, school staff and parents, and the academisation agenda of the last decade has left our local authority without the powers needed to make the best decision in the interests of our local community.

I want to see schools re-open as soon as it is safe to do so, but this must have the confidence and backing of all involved. I’m therefore glad to see that the decision whether to send a child back to school is ultimately in the hands of their parents. As your Member of Parliament for East Hull, I will continue to challenge the Government to work more collaboratively with all involved to get this crucially important decision right for the safety, wellbeing and education of our children.

Read Hull Labour Group’s full statement below:

“The decision by Government to extend school opening during the Covid19 crisis is a source of genuine concern for many families across our city. For this reason we want to communicate with you directly as Labour Councillors.

Labour understands that returning to school is a priority for the sake of children’s education, and to ensure the inequalities which exist do not widen even further. Although schools have been open during the period of lockdown for children of key workers, we believe that we need to ensure that schools extend their opening when we are confident we can guarantee the safety of children, families and Hull residents. Labour is calling for the Government to work with unions, schools and parents to ensure that safety concerns are addressed before a date for reopening schools is confirmed.

Today, almost every school in Hull is an academy and no longer under the control of the Council. Schools in Hull have stayed open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children even over holidays and bank holidays, but we have no powers to demand schools stay closed to most children. We are working closely with the Learning Partnership, who are working tirelessly to do what can be done.

The Labour Council has been working closely with the unions and the City Learning Partnership to support children, staff, parents and schools through this crisis. There will not be a blanket reopening of schools on 1st June. We can reassure parents that every school will carry out a full risk assessment before a decision is reached about the safety of reopening. We must get the return to school right in the best interests of Hull’s children, families and staff.

We want parents to know that you will not be fined if you decide to keep your children at home from 1st June. This is an unprecedented time for all of us; uncertainty and doubt during this pandemic is absolutely natural. Ultimately, as Labour Councillors we believe we must support the choices of parents and keep our children safe.”

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