Education official tells councillors Hertfordshire schools should now be fully open

Education officials will be contacting any Hertfordshire school that is not fully open following the start of the autumn term.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 2:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 2:30 pm

Following the end of lockdown, schools opened to some or all year groups – and in some cases altered their hours – depending on their circumstances.

But at a meeting of the county council’s education, libraries and localism cabinet panel on Tuesday, September 7, operations director Simon Newland said that this should no longer be the case.

“For this term and the coming year we expect, like the government, that every school will be open for every pupil for all the sessions that they are entitled to, in other words, five days a week,” he said.

School stock image

And he added: “It is the case though that some schools looking at, for example, early closing on Friday afternoons – and that’s something that, unless there are very very particular reasons behind it, we would be uncomfortable with.

“So as we move towards the end of this week and next week, we will be in touch with every school that appears to be departing from the normal pattern to check with them why that is – whether there is any support we can offer to them and what their plans are for recovery.”

At the meeting Mr Newland acknowledged that some schools had had to take varied approaches, following the end of the lockdown period last term.

And he said he was not concerned about those schools who were varying their hours in order to provide a staggered intake for some year groups, such as reception and year one classes.

Mr Newland made the remarks in response to a question by Liberal Democrat opposition education spokesperson Cllr Mark Watkin.

Cllr Watkin noted that at the end of last term the approach taken by schools had “varied absolutely” according to their circumstances.

And he highlighted one school that had opened all classes to all year groups for one day a week – with others taking different approaches.

And he said: “So what I am trying to understand now is when we use the term all schools are open, what are we saying?”