Tory cabinet minister Oliver Dowden repeatedly refused to rule out punishing councils and teachers who defy orders to reopen schools on June the 1st
Oliver Dowden was asked today whether teachers, school leaders or council leaders will be “penalised” for if they defy the order.
But the Cabinet minister repeatedly refused to rule it out instead saying: “I really hope it doesn’t come to that,” and said ministers are working with unions and teachers in an effort to come to a peaceful conclusion.
Pm Boris Johnson has planned to ease the corona lockdown earlier this month including a reopening of primary schools from the 1st of June.
However, teacher’s unions are still in talks with the government just two weeks before Years R (Reception), 1 and 6 are meant to return to England’s primary schools.
But the union warned many schools would find the process “impossible” and any that believe they are not ready to reopen to children should stay shut.
Last night the Association of School and College Leaders said it would “continue to support our members” in preparing for a reopening on June 1st.
Hartlepool and Liverpool councils have remained adamant they will not reopen schools next month with the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson saying he would only allow teachers and children to return to school when it was “safe to do so”,
Opposition member and Labour leader of Gateshead Council, Martin Gannon, said the easing of the lockdown rules was “frankly madness”.
Culture Secretary Mr Dowden refused four times in a press conference to say if English councils will be penalised for keeping schools shut against government advice.