Harriett Baldwin's Westminster Diary - The Evesham Observer

Harriett Baldwin's Westminster Diary

Evesham Editorial 6th Sep, 2020   0

Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin writes for the Observer….

IT’S BEEN nearly six months since the difficult decision was taken, in the face of a new, highly infectious virus, to close schools to nearly all pupils and cancel exams.  Many thanks to all the teachers who adapted and kept teaching and assessing their pupils throughout the period.

We now know a lot more about this new virus and mercifully it spares children.  So this week sees the traditional return to school and the start of a new academic year. Of course, all schools have made special arrangements to welcome back their pupils in a way that minimises the chance of infections – hand-washing, year group bubbles and socially distant teachers, to name a few.

Neary two million pupils were able to return to classrooms in June, with protective measures in place in June, and there has been no noticeable increase in infections since then.

Locally, the Worcestershire public health team and NHS test and trace can rapidly test and trace from any local outbreaks.

All the experts, including the Chief Medical Officer, has confirmed that they believe it is safe for school to re-start. Pupils have already missed many months of learning alongside their friends. Many will have lots to catch up. There’s £1 billion of Government funds to help schools catch up to provide small group and one-to-one tutoring for those that need it.

There’s also an important social aspect to being in a school with your peer group that is hard to quantify but I know many have missed it.

By returning to school, it also means that parents will be able to return to some level of normality and I’ve heard from many heroic local parents who have been home-schooling their children while working from home and I know many of them will be glad to get back to their workplaces.

But this coronavirus crisis has given us all an important lesson on the great things that teachers do helping to give our children and grandchildren the best possible start in life and I am sure all readers will join me in passing on the message of how thankful we all are for their efforts in recent months and their work dealing with the challenges to come this year.


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