Updated Brighton & Hove City Council Statement Regarding Schools Opening More Widely From Monday 15 June

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Updated Brighton & Hove City Council statement: Wednesday 10 June


We are now able to advise that schools and council nurseries should open more widely to pupils in a measured and considered way from Monday 15 June.


Our previous position that reopening to more pupils should not take place was based on advice from the council’s Public Health team that there was not reasonable assurance that all the government’s five tests were met locally, in particular around the Test and Trace programme.


Over the last ten days, the council’s Public Health team has been closely monitoring the progress of the Test and Trace programme and how this is working in Brighton & Hove. Our Public Health colleagues now have sufficient reassurance that this service is in place to test anyone with symptoms of the coronavirus and trace their close contacts.


Alistair Hill, Director of Public Health, today said: “It’s our goal for more children to be back in school in as safe an environment as possible as soon as possible. I am sufficiently reassured that necessary measures are now in place, especially around Test and Trace, to mitigate risk. Control measures for potential outbreaks are also clear.”


This situation is under constant review.


We are impressed and continue to be appreciative of all the hard work by headteachers, chairs of governors and staff to prepare for the wider reopening of schools and early years settings. We have seen our education leaders move forward with good judgement and sensitive understanding of the safety issues around their own settings.


The priority for a phased return will be for the years previously identified by the government. Infant and primary schools are asked to take in nursery years, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils. Secondary schools are asked to provide face to face support for young people in Year 10 and 12 during this summer term.


Pupils in these age groups are expected to return in a gradual way, with numbers rising differently from setting to setting based on risk assessments of how best to manage this. Schools have been in touch with families to gauge the numbers of pupils due to take up the option of returning to education in school. We also monitor attendance numbers and will keep this under close review as schools open more widely.


Parents and carers can decide whether to send their children back in. While we would like to see as many pupils as possible back in schools, individual family choices will be respected and no fines will be issued for non-attendance this term.


During the lockdown, we have been working closely with education, childcare and early years settings in the city to develop wider opening and reopening plans ready for this point. The plans are based on site specific risk assessments, the council’s Public Health team’s advice and a safety first approach.


We recognise that schools and early years settings have been open throughout the pandemic, including the school holidays. Childcare has been provided for children of keyworkers and for vulnerable children, including SEND pupils, since schools closed to most pupils at the end of March. The system in place to support this small number of children attending school is well established and will continue.


We give our full thanks for all the hard work that is being done during such a challenging and changing time.


We encourage schools and council run nurseries to follow our latest advice. We would like to be clear that the final decision on whether to open an individual school lies with the head teacher, in consultation with their governing board.


Non-council early years settings can make their own decisions based on their risk assessments. Some early years settings have already opened to more children.


We will keep you updated on any changes as they arise. Thank you again for your support, professionalism and dedication.

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