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Children’s minister says it is ‘vital’ for children to return to school during Ipswich visit

PUBLISHED: 14:49 27 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:23 27 August 2020

Children's minister Vicky Ford joined children at Dale Hall Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Children's minister Vicky Ford joined children at Dale Hall Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Education minister Vicky Ford had a clear message for parents during a visit to Ipswich: make sure your children go back to school next week.

That's the way to throw it! Children's minister Vicky Ford joined children at Dale Hall Primary School in Ipswich and tried her hand at throwing the javelin. Picture: PAUL GEATERThat's the way to throw it! Children's minister Vicky Ford joined children at Dale Hall Primary School in Ipswich and tried her hand at throwing the javelin. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Chelmsford MP Mrs Ford is minister for children at the Department for Education and visited Ipswich to see the government-funded activities taking place at Dale Hall Primary in the town.

After taking part in parachute games and trying to throw the javelin, Mrs Ford said schemes like this which have been running throughout the summer providing activities for children from deprived backgrounds had been vital in encouraging the youngsters to meet new friends and be physically active.

But the most important thing was that they returned to school next week: “Being at school is important, not just for their education but to be with each other, play with each other, play with each other.

“What I’ve heard from the children here is how important it is to make friends and how important it is to cope with what is such a challenging time for many people.”

Mrs Ford’s visit came on the day that it was confirmed that two high schools in Ipswich – Copleston and Chantry Academy – were bringing in rules telling students to wear face coverings in communal areas like school corridors.

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She said it was right that the decision on face coverings should be left up to individual head teachers after “The government has said that schools in an area where there is a lot of Covid around, all secondary school pupils should be wearing face masks in communal areas. But in other areas it is up to the head teachers who know the physical setting of their own school.”

It was not right for masks to be worn in classes themselves because students and teachers needed to be able to communicate to each other without and obstacles.

And there was also a need for senior school pupils to wear masks when travelling to school on buses or trains: “When they are in school they are in their own group, with people they know and could be traced if necessary.

“If you are travelling to school on a bus, whether a school bus or a normal service bus you will be coming into contact with a much wider group of people who you may not know and would be difficult to trace so masks should always be worn.”


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