Most primary school pupils return to the classroom amid uncertainty

Many primary schools throughout Tameside and Glossop are re-opening on Monday 4 January or Tuesday 5 January after their Christmas break, but some are closing their doors for the foreseeable future.

Manor Green Primary Academy in Denton has shut, following heavily publicised union action from the National Education Union, as they urged schools to close and move to remote learning.

Rosehill Methodist Primary Academy in Ashton is open to all year groups except nursery and reception children.

In a statement released to parents, head teacher Kathy Allen said: "There has been a lot in the press recently regarding the safety of schools since the significant rise in the COVID-19 infection rate and the discovery of a more infectious strain of the virus. 

"Due to this, a number of school staff have been in contact to inform us that they now won’t be attending school until further guidance regarding safety is available from the government." 

Duke of Norfolk Church of England Primary School in Glossop had announced its intention to remain closed until Monday 18 January, in line with the same action that has been taken towards secondary schools.

Higher Education institutions are shut to all but vulnerable children and children of essential workers, with the intention of reviewing this decision on 18 January.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has encouraged parents to send their children back to school, insisting that it’s safe to do so amid rising Covid-19 infection rates.

His decision is backed by leader of Tameside Council, Brenda Warrington, and Executive Member for Lifelong learning, Equalities, Culture and Heritage, Cllr Leanne Feeley, who were not 'advising the wholesale closure of primary schools'. 

They said in a joint statement: "Our schools have responded amazingly to the challenges the pandemic has presented. In view of the current rates of infection in the Borough, the effectiveness of the track and trace model in our schools and the risk posed to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children by not being in school, we are not advising the wholesale closure of primary schools tomorrow." 

Meanwhile, a Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “Any decisions regarding opening are made by individual schools according to their local circumstances. We have provided schools with practical information and support within the Government guidance.”

Parents should check the websites of their children’s school to confirm re-opening times and dates.

Both the High Peak, part of Derbyshire, and Tameside, part of Greater Manchester, are now under Tier 4 - the toughest current level of coronavirus restrictions - which means people should only leave home for specific purposes, work from home if they can, should not travel unless necessary and should only meet with their household or one other person in a public outdoor place.  

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