Dorset schools prepare for pupils to return

PLANS are being made to welcome more pupils back into schools across Dorset.

Dorset Council is working with schools as they plan to open for more children from reception, Year 1 and Year 6, as announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The earliest possible start date for these pupils will be June 1. This will depend on government advice and arrangements at individual schools.

Secondary and upper schools in Dorset are also working on plans to hold some face-to-face sessions for Year 10 and 12 students before the summer holiday.

Dorset schools are following guidance from the Department for Education and Dorset Council. Plans are being made to reduce the risk of infection in schools as much as possible and risk assessments are being carried out.

Arrangements will vary, as what is needed in a small primary  schools will be very different from a large secondary or upper school. Classes will potentially be very different, as measures will need to be put in place to help keep children and staff as safe as possible.

Special schools are working with families individually to agree when it is safe for each pupil to return. Children and young people who are shielding because they are considered clinically vulnerable should continue to shield and should not return to school.

Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Children, Education and Early Help, said: “I would like to thank our schools and all their staff for their work during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our schools have been open throughout for the children of key workers and vulnerable children and I know they are now working hard on plans to welcome more pupils back into the classroom.”

Dorset schools currently remain open for the children of key workers, those with Education, Health and Care Plans and vulnerable children, which includes children who have a social worker.

Schools will be in touch with parents and carers to discuss arrangements to welcome back more pupils. They will update parents and carers again, as soon as plans are finalised and the date from which schools can admit more pupils is confirmed. Each school will keep parents and carers informed.

Latest government guidance for parents and carers is available at

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