Parents protest against wider re-opening of schools from Monday

A group of parents have staged a demonstration in Cambridge saying the opening of schools for more pupils from Monday is too soon.

The small gathering of parents with placards was protesting outside Shire Hall, the headquarters of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Primary schools have been preparing to re-open to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils on Monday although most schools have been operating for the children of key workers since the lockdown began in March.

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithes

The protesters are concerned that more pupils in schools will put the children of key workers and vulnerable children at risk.

"This is a serious matter of trust. "Parents, teachers, carers, everybody in the community has to be able to trust that the information we are getting is the right information and it’s good. "There is a serious lack of trust in this government at the moment."

Tom Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Parents and Carers Forum
  • Some parents are worried about more children returning to school classrooms

Cambridgeshire County Council said that any opening date would be subject to receiving appropriate scientific evidence to support the reopening of schools from the Department for Education.

Schools have getting classrooms ready and doing risk assessments for a number of weeks now after the Boris Johnson's televised address to the nation of 10 May when he announced plans to lift some lockdown measures from the beginning of June.

The Prime Minister plans to ease the lockdown will be confirmed on Thursday in an official review that Downing Street expects will give the all-clear for schools to begin reopening next week.

They are dependent on further scientific advice including on the rate of transmission.

School have been preparing for the return of more pupils to changing the layout of classrooms. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Social distancing markers like the ones seen in supermarketswill be part of the new school routine when pupils return to Beeches Primary School in Peterborough.

In the Year 1 class, the pupils aged five or six, will sit at least two metres apart with fewer children the normal in each classroom.

They will each have a tray with essential items for a lesson and the toys have been selected because they're easier to clean.

All the measures have been put in place to minimise the danger of the coronavirus being transmitted.

Each child's classroom equipment will be contained in separate at this school in Peterborough.

The MP for Harlow, Robert Halfon is the chair of the influential Commons Education Selection Committee and questioned the Prime Minister about the return to schools.

He said: “I know how worrying this time has been for parents, teachers and support staff and I have been doing all I can to ensure that every possible precaution and support is in place for schools to reopen."

Boris Johnson told Mr Halfon during Wednesday's Commons Liaison Committee hearing that he believed it could be done “in a safe, socially distanced way.”