MP discusses primary headteachers’ concerns over reopening of schools

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt attending an online meeting with primary heads Picture: TOM HUNT

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt attending an online meeting with primary heads Picture: TOM HUNT - Credit: TOM HUNT

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has held an online meeting with primary headteachers - and is warning there must not be a “one size fits all” approach for more children returning to school.

While supporting the phased return from June 1, he emphasised the importance that headteachers have flexibility in opening up classrooms.

During the meeting, headteachers from Ipswich and other parts of Suffolk voiced their concerns, including provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).

They also said they needed clear guidance, while another concern was the impact of potential new systems on children’s mental health and wellbeing.

Following the meeting, Mr Hunt said: “This crisis has interrupted the education of all children, and particularly some of the most vulnerable and deprived children in our community, who may not have access to things like online lessons or who may even be suffering abuse.

“There are also concerns for children in key year groups like reception and Year 1, and their readiness and well-being as they prepare to move through the school system.

“This is why the phased reopening of schools to more children from June 1 has my support, but I’m also aware that each school is different and each headteacher has their own concerns.”

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Mr Hunt added: “It’s clear that our local headteachers must have a degree of autonomy in how children are brought back and there must not be a one-size-fits-all approach across the board.

“I will do everything I can as the local MP to support Ipswich’s headteachers in using their discretion and knowledge of their own school to guide this phased return to school. And I will always be ready to make the case to the government if they need additional support to make sure the phased return to school is as safe and as effective as possible.”

He said he was also listening to the concerns of teachers at all levels and parents in his constituency. “I am also supportive of their discretion and I welcome the government’s announcement that parents will not be penalised for keeping their children at home even if they’re eligible to attend. This phased return to school will work best if all involved are allowed to work together as partners.”

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