Not all children may return to school before the end of the summer term, it was recently announced, as government plans of reopening schools remain uncertain.

Many primary schools reopened their doors to more children on 1st June, allowing reception, year 1 and year 6 students to return under a series of strict safety measures.

The government previous had plans for all primary students to return to the classroom, but now admit that this aim may not be realistic.

With just six weeks remaining before the end of the school year, the practicalities may be too difficult for all children to return safely.

The news has been met with a sigh of relief from many school leaders, who did not believe a full phased return to school was possible in the current scenario.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “If confirmed, we’re pleased to see the government will not force the impossible.

“Schools will continue to use their flexibility, intelligently, to deliver the very best for all pupils in their school.”

According to the Guardian, attendance statistics collected by the Department for Education are likely to show that only half of students in the three eligible year groups returned to school last week. The official figures will be published today.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the plan return to schools as part of a wider strategy for exiting the lockdown and reviving the economy. However, his plans were received with scepticism by concerned parents and overwhelmed teachers, as well as school unions and local authorities, who were aware of the health and safety difficulties that would present themselves in England’s overcrowded classrooms.

Mr. Whiteman said: “Throughout lockdown, school leaders and their teams have worked hard to meet all of the needs of their pupils. This term, they must be given flexibility they need to balance the needs of the pupils coming back and the children continuing to learn at home.

“Returning all pupils before the end of this term will present unsolvable practical barriers if the hierarchies of control are to be maintained. Year groups have had to be split into groups of 15, using up other classrooms and occupying teachers from other years.”

Children going to school

Children in reception, year 1 and year 6 returned to school from June 1st.

Even a full return in September ‘may be difficult’

At a Downing Street press briefing yesterday, health secretary Matt Hancock hinted that even a full return in September ‘may be difficult’.

Hancock said that for secondary schools, the current plan is to return in September, but will require “ingenuity” to remain in line with social distancing measures.

Schools in Northern Ireland and Scotland have already announced that they will not reopen schools until after the summer holidays, whilst schools in Wales are scheduled to open on June 29th.

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