Seven North East MPs urge education secretary to roll back plans to reopen schools

Seven North East Labour MPs are calling on the government to halt plans to reopen primary schools.

The letter was sent by Jarrow MP Kate Osborne and co-signed by Ian Lavery (Wansbeck), Ian Mearns (Gateshead), Mike Hill (Hartlepool), Mary Foy (City of Durham), Graham Morris (Easington) and Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields).

It says the region's high coronavirus infection rate makes the government's June 1 target "reckless" and "one of gross incompetence."

It comes as the justice secretary Robert Buckland admitted there may not be a "uniform approach" to reopening schools in England.

The government plans to allow children in England in reception, year 1 and year 6 to begin a phased return from the start of next month. Most schools have been closed since March 20.

In recent days, a number of predominately Labour controlled councils have said they will not advise schools to follow the government's timetable.

Graeme Miller, the leader of Sunderland City Council, said:

Many parents are rightly concerned that the reopening of schools is premature at this time and myself and the city's cabinet tend to agree with them...

Graeme Miller, the leader of Sunderland City Council

Hartlepool Council has already advised its schools against reopening.

The British Medical Association has now said schools should reopen “as soon as it is safe to do so”.

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