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Majority of secondary school pupils in Preston and Lancashire to be kept off for additional fortnight

Posted on - 30th December, 2020 - 4:45pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, Schools, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Sign on the gates of a school in Ashton-on-Ribble during lockdown Pic: Tony Worrall
Sign on the gates of a school in Ashton-on-Ribble during lockdown Pic: Tony Worrall

Secondary schools in Preston and Lancashire will stay shut for the majority of pupils for an additional fortnight after the Christmas holidays.

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The government has announced the staggered return to secondary schools planned for the week beginning Monday (4 January) has become more staggered.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said exam-year pupils for secondary schools will return on Monday 11 January.

This is to give additional time for mass testing to be introduced and therefore all remaining secondary school pupils will return on the week beginning Monday 18 January.

The Education secretary said he expected online learning to take place for pupils remaining at home during the period of school closures.

Primary schools are mainly unaffected, with only areas with the highest coronavirus rates seeing a fortnight delay in returning to the classroom.

A full list of primary schools has been released and none are in Lancashire.

Mr Williamson said the primary school delayed return was not applying to every tier-4 area.

Read more: These are the full tier-4 restrictions for Preston and Lancashire

Education secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs in the House of Commons: “This has always been an exercise in managing risks. We have been adamant that education of our children is our priority.

“We must always act swiftly when circumstances change. The evidence about the new Covid variant has required immediate adjustments for the new term.

“We continue to act to preserve lives and safeguard the NHS, and we continue to protect education by putting children first.

“Above all our response is proportionate to the risk at hand.”

See the latest coronavirus cases and information near you

Mr Williamson said covid infections among children is triggered by the community rate.

He also said ‘the wider negative impact on children’s development by school closures is quite clear.’

He said the staggered return and fortnight’s delay for secondary schools and colleges will ‘break the chains of transmission’ and ‘keeping all children and education settings as safe as we can.’

Read more: Leader of Preston City Council reacts to tier-4 decision

All schools will continue to stay open for the teaching of children of key workers and children classed as vulnerable, they will receive face-to-face teaching regardless of the tier restrictions in that area.

Nurseries are understood be unaffected and can re-open or continue to stay open as planned.

Universities are being urged to reduce the number of students returning to campus teaching.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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