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From Mayor Glanville and Cllr Bramble

1 January 2021 (by Helen Fitzpatrick (admin))

Hackney primary schools delay to full opening - see update below

Dear colleagues,

I am sure you will share our sense of relief that the Government has tonight finally listened to us and to the united voices of headteachers, unions, school staff, parents, MPs, London Leaders, the Mayor of London and public health professionals and reversed its decision to exclude Hackney primary schools from the list of boroughs, whose school terms are due to be delayed on public health grounds. The Government’s statement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/contingency-framework-implemented-across-london-boroughs

We would like to thank you for all your support in helping to make such a strong case to the Government, which helped to secure this U-turn in the Government’s position.

Our statement can be found here: https://news.hackney.gov.uk/reopening-of-primary-schools-in-hackney-delayed

The changes will mean that primary schools remain closed except to children of critical workers and vulnerable children until at least 18 January when the decision will be reviewed.

Today’s announcement is a welcome relief and will enable our schools to focus on providing the best possible remote learning and prepare to recommence face-to-face teaching when it is safer to do so.

 The Government’s original decision was at stark odds with the uniequival local public health data and current situation. As you will be aware, Hackney is a Tier 4 area and the Covid case rate is very high. The case rate per 100,000 in Hackney is now 865.5. We are in the top 10 boroughs in London for cases, and 30th in the country. The delay to the start of term will help stop the spread of Coronavirus and help to keep our community safe.

 While this last minute change is of course extremely welcome, the failure of the Government to listen to our collective concerns and properly review the public health data sooner means that our schools and parents are now left making alternative arrangements at the eleventh hour, over the final weekend of the Christmas and New Year holidays. I am sure you will agree that, despite the positive outcome, the stress and uncertainty that has been placed on school staff and parents over the past 48 hours could have been avoided.

Thank you once again for all your support in securing this welcome reversal. Going forward we will continue to advocate on behalf of schools to improve national guidance, availability of testing and access to the vaccines for key workers.

 Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Mayor Philip Glanville and Deputy Mayor Anntoinette Bramble