Nottingham City Council has cast doubt over schools reopening on June 1 after saying it will only open them when it is safe to do so.
The council has responded to the Government announcement that schools will reopen on 1 June to primary school children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 – as well as nurseries and other early years childcare settings.
Three councils across England have now said they won’t reopen on 1 June.
Nottingham City Council is responsible for 33 local authority primaries – with all other secondary and primary schools in the city being academies.
Cllr Neghat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Early Years, Education and Employment, said: “The safety of children and staff is our main priority. I want to be clear that we will be encouraging schools to take all precautions to minimise risk to pupils, parents or teachers.
“We are working closely with schools in the city to understand how we can support them to be ready to reopen as soon as they feel it is safe to do so. The Government has set a return date of 1 June for children for Nurseries, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 – but we will need to be certain that the schools will be able to do this in a safe way.
“It is important to remember that our schools have never closed during the Covid-19 crisis; they have remained open for the children of key workers and to vulnerable children for the last eight weeks. During this time, they have developed new ways of working to allow a small number of children to be safely in school.
“We are now looking at ways of scaling this up so that we can start to increase gradually the number of children who return so that schools can continue to address safety concerns and good hygiene within a school or nursery environment. This might include smaller class sizes and staggered start and finish times for example. This will obviously mean that not all pupils can be in school at any one time.
“We have strong links with all partners across schools, academies, nurseries and special needs schools – all are committed to finding a way forward.”