IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Islington council U-turn over school closures

Islington schools set to remain shut from Thursday

15 December, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

 

ISLINGTON schools have been asked to close from Thursday after discussions with the government this week over the rise in Covid-19 cases across London.

This week Islington schools were asked to close from the end of today (Tuesday) after a rise in Covid-19 cases across London.

The town hall issued the call to school leaders on Monday after Greenwich council made the same decision over the weekend.

But after meetings with the Department for Education (DfE) today the council say schools should stay open as usual tomorrow and close on Thursday.

It comes after Greenwich Council backed down on school closures after threats of legal action from the government.

Islington Council and the Department for Education (DfE) has come under fire in the past few weeks with the National Education Union (NEU) accusing them of a “worryingly complacent” attitude towards the spread of the virus in schools.

It is understood that recently several schools have been forced to close because the number of teachers and students who are having to isolate has lead to unmanageable staff shortages.

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “Coronavirus cases are rising fast in Islington and London, and following public health advice about this very serious situation, we originally advised schools in Islington to move to online learning.

“After discussion today with the Department for Education, we have now advised our schools to open as usual to pupils on Wednesday (Dec 16), and advised our schools that they are able to arrange an INSET day on Thursday. Friday was to be an INSET day already.

“We issued this advice to schools because the situation in Islington is so serious. As Islington and London continue to face surging rates of coronavirus it’s absolutely vital we all work together and do everything we can to keep our families and loved ones safe.  The more people mix, the more the virus will spread, and the serious illness and death we will all see in our community. I urge residents to do whatever you can to stay safe at this dangerous time.”

 

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