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Children: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd May 2020.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether parents who are concerned that their children returning to school in May, June or July will be at risk from covid-19 and associated conditions will be able to keep them at home and away from school at least until the commencement of the September term.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union, Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether parents who do not let their child return to school as covid-19 lockdown measures are eased will face fines for their child’s non-attendance.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

From the week commencing 1 June, at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers). We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time.

By returning pupils gradually, settings can initially reduce the number of children and young people in classrooms compared to usual and put protective measures in place to reduce risks.

Eligible children – including priority groups - are strongly encouraged to attend their education setting, unless they are self-isolating or they are clinically vulnerable. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time and schools will not be held to account for attendance levels.

Further guidance for parents and carers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers.

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