Are middle school pupils returning?
While the debate rages about whether some primary school pupils should return to the classroom from 1st June, Biddulph's MP said she has been contacted by many parents in her Staffordshire Moorlands constituency asking if any children in the three-tier system should also be returning.
As it looks to ease lockdown restrictions, the Government has announced that among those children who should be returning at the beginning of next month are year six pupils to help them with the transition to year seven in September.
But nothing has been officially mentioned for those in middle schools, such as Biddulph's James Bateman and Woodhouse.
MP Karen Bradley has written to the education secretary Gavin Williamson, the MP for South Staffordshire, about this and has raised the issue with Staffordshire County Council.
She said: “Clearly, the transition years in the three-tier system are years four into five and eight into nine.
“We need that flexibility in the Moorlands to ensure that those children that need to spend some time at school preparing for the transition are able to benefit from this.”
Biddulph town councillor Jill Salt had written to Mrs Bradley asking that she contacted the department of education “to raise our concerns most urgently”.
She said: “I have read the guidance for schools from cover to cover. As our constituency MP I request that you make contact with the department for education re our local three-tier system. Year six is not applicable to most schools of the Moorlands. It is our year four and year eight students moving along their school journey. I would have hoped this hadn't slipped the mind of the secretary of state for education, given he's a Staffordshire MP! Please could you raise our concerns most urgently and ensure guidance is altered quickly to reflect the fact that we operate a three-tier schooling system in our constituency.”
James Bateman and Woodhouse schools were asked to comment but had not responded by deadline yesterday (Wednesday).
When the Chronicle contacted the department for education for a response this week, it referred to its guidance on the phased return to school, which says: “We expect all mainstream schools and colleges, including independent schools, to follow the same approach. We encourage middle schools to do the same and welcome back children in year six, to ensure national parity for children in this year group.”
The Government announced last week that from the week commencing 1st June it was asking nurseries and other early year providers, including childminders, to begin welcoming back all children; primary schools to welcome back children in nursery (where they have them), reception, year one and year six; secondary schools, sixth form, and further education colleges to begin some face to face support with year 10 and 12 pupils, although these pupils are next expected to return on a full-time basis at this stage.