Focus Trust’s schools shut early for Christmas

Nov 21, 2020 by

An academy trust said it is closing schools to protect families from self-isolation at Christmas.

Pupils outside school
Many pupils and staff at the trust’s 15 schools have had to stay at home because of coronavirus

A multi-academy trust is closing all of its primary schools a week early for Christmas because of Covid-19 and fears over self-isolation.

Focus Trust’s 15 schools, based in the north west of England and West Yorkshire, will shut on 11 December.

The trust said it was trying to “safeguard staff” and “protect precious family time”.

The Department for Education said it had asked the trust to review the arrangement.

It was a challenging time for all schools but closing early was not the answer, it added.

The trust said since September 28% of children and 38% of staff had been instructed to self-isolate.

Government guidelines mean bubble groups should self-isolate for a period of two weeks if exposed to the virus.

Bubbles in 13 of the trust’s 15 schools have had to close since September, meaning 1,740 children and 375 staff have had to stay at home for two weeks at different times, the trust said.

The schools were originally due to close for the festive period on 18 December.

Focus Trust’s Chief Executive Helen Rowland said the “mental and physical health and wellbeing of children and staff” was “our priority”.

“Just this week we had one of our one form entry schools, with no previous cases, who now have 90 children and 10 staff isolating for two weeks – almost half the school,” she said.

Ms Rowland said she realised it would be short notice for some families but she hoped that by extending the holiday they “could ensure no-one is forced to self isolate [at Christmas] because of someone they have come into contact with at school”.

The days missed would be made up later in the school year, she added.

The trust’s schools include:

  • Birstall Primary Academy and Fieldhead Primary Academy in Batley
  • Boothroyd Primary Academy and Thornhill Junior and Infant School in Dewsbury
  • Old Trafford Community Academy and Manor Green Primary Academy in Manchester
  • Rudheath Primary Academy in Northwich, Cheshire
  • Lyndhurst Primary School, Coppice Primary Academy, Freehold Community Primary School and Roundthorn Primary Academy in Oldham
  • Deeplish Primary Academy in Rochdale
  • Shibden Head Primary Academy, Thornton Primary School and Wilsden Primary School in Bradford

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said it had no plans for schools to break up for Christmas early.

They added: “The Chief Medical Officer remains of the view that schools should remain open, and has highlighted the damage caused by not being in education to children’s learning, development and mental health.”

Academies are independent, state-funded schools, which receive their funding directly from central government rather than through a local authority.

Source: Coronavirus: Focus Trust’s schools shut early for Christmas – BBC News

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.