Over 370,000 sign petition asking government NOT to send children back to school

More than 370,000 people have so far signed a petition asking for parents to have the option to not send their children back to school. Credit: PA

More than 370,000 people have so far signed a petition asking for parents and guardians to have the option to not send their children back to school.

This comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last night that by June 1 "at the earliest," we might "be in a position" "to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6."

He also stated that the government has the "ambition" of getting secondary school pupils that have exams next year back to school, so they can "get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays."

Boris Johnson then later said during the speech that the plans he had outlined, including in terms of education "is conditional" and "all depends on a series of big Ifs."

"At the earliest by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6." "Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays. And we will shortly be setting out detailed guidance on how to make it work in schools and shops and on transport."

Boris Johnson during last night's speech

The petition, at the time of writing, has 371,446 signatures from people across the country, including the Midlands.

Lucy Browne, who started the petition, says: "I’m calling on the UK Government to give parents and guardians the option of not sending their children back to school if they reopen in June - as Boris Johnson has suggested this could happen in England."

"As a mum I don’t want to face serious repercussions for making a choice I feel affects the safety of my daughter during a global pandemic."

Lucy Browne

This is what headteachers and parents in the Midlands think about the plans.

Teaching unions have also criticised the plans spoken about in the meeting last night, with the the National Education Union (NEU) asking the government to meet five tests set out by teaching unions before schools are reopened as set out.

These include personal protective equipment (PPE), extra money for deep cleaning, and local powers to close schools if clusters of coronavirus infections break out in a particular area.

Zarah Sultana, MP for Coventry South, has voiced support for the union's five tests on social media.

Last week, ITV News Central viewers also responded to a survey on our Facebook page.

In the unscientific poll, out of 8 and a half thousand responses, nearly 6 and a half thousand said they'd be uncomfortable sending their children back to school in June.

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