(Lucy Young)" />
London headteachers warned today of the consequences of keeping schools shut as fears grew that they won’t open until after Easter.
They said the ramifications of keeping schools closed will be massive, economically, mentally and physically.
Schools were closed to everyone except vulnerable and key worker children at the beginning of this month and were originally expected to reopen after half term in February.
But at a Downing Street press conference yesterday health secretary Matt Hancock declined to confirm that schools would reopen in March.
Steve Chalke, head of the Oasis academy chain which runs 14 schools in London and the South-East, said the “mood music” was that schools would shut until after the Easter holidays.
Alun Ebenezer, head of Fulham Boys School, said: “We should get all pupils back into school as soon as possible. If we don’t, the long term ramifications for this generation will be massive. I appreciate we need to do this as safely as possible so teachers need to be the top priority for vaccination, and the Government should throw all they can at this to make it happen.”
Emma Pattison, head of Croydon High School, said she heard news of the possibility of schools being closed until Easter “with a heavy heart but, sadly, not much surprise”.
She added: “We have been planning for this scenario since we became aware of the new variant as it was clear even just after Christmas that a short closure would not be sufficient.
“The vaccination programme appears to be going very well. It is essential that teachers be in a priority group so that they are vaccinated before the schools open. Given the difficulties surrounding social distancing in schools it is imperative to vaccinate teachers before they come back to the classroom.”