03/01/2021 - A statement regarding Luton's primary schools and council-run early years providers
from Councillor Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Council.
"On Saturday 2 January I wrote, with Luton’s two MPs, to the Secretary of State for Education, requesting that urgent reconsideration be given to the national decision that primary schools in Luton should reopen on Monday morning.
"Whilst all of our schools have excellent Covid control measures in place which has kept our pupils safe and prevented any large outbreaks in our schools since they reopened in September, we recognise that there is some concern within our community, particularly after the government ordered primary schools in some London boroughs with cases lower that Luton to remain closed. The Government has indicated it will consider our request this week.
"As such, we have written to the headteachers at all Luton's primary schools and council-run early years providers, outlining our full support for any decision they make this week, based on their individual risk assessments and likely staffing levels given the advice that has been issued to its members by the NEU. We will be working with schools to help them assess their staffing position.
"Further information is available from individual schools.
"Whatever decision is made by individual schools, all schools will be open this week for vulnerable children and children of key workers.
"We recognise the importance of maintaining education and within our letter to the Secretary of State we have also requested assistance to tackle digital poverty in our town.
"Finally, I can confirm that there will be no fines in Luton at present for any parents who choose to keep their child at home."
We will provide further updates once we have spoken with schools again on Monday, and of course as soon as we get a decision from the government in response to our request.