School union's classroom return fears
As schools prepare to welcome pupils back to classrooms on Monday for face-to-face learning for the first time in 2021 Department for Education figures reveal just 19% of pupils were being taught on site at schools in South Tyneside in the latest snapshot assessment on February 11.
That was up from the 17% estimated to be in the area's schools a month earlier – 29% in primary schools and six per cent in secondaries
Pupils in schools in England, except children of key workers and vulnerable pupils, have been learning remotely since the start of the latest lockdown began.
Nationally, around 16% of students across the country attended school in the week before half term, rising to 18% last week following the announcement of Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown.
However, the National Education Union joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “A ‘big bang’ school reopening brings 10 million people back into crowded buildings with no social distancing.
"The wearing of face masks by pupils and staff in in secondary school lessons is a welcome measure but it is not, on its own, enough."
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "Everyone working in schools and colleges has been going to extraordinary lengths over the past weeks and months to continue educating our young people, providing care for vulnerable children and juggling the demands of having some children in school while most receive their education remotely."