No fines for parents who do not return kids to school

EXAM SET UP
By Kit Sandeman, Local Democracy Reporter

The Government is currently planning a partial re-opening of schools on June 1, with initial access for selected year groups.

There has been widespread concern from teachers, unions and parents about the safety of pupils and staff, as well as the potential for a wider societal spread of infection.

However others have said the benefits for children and the economy outweigh the risks involved with children returning to school.

Nottinghamshire County Council has today signalled it will follow Government guidance and will not be fining parents who make the decision not to send their children back to school.

Labour councillor Liz Plant represents West Bridgford North, and is the party’s education spokeswoman on the Conservative-controlled council.

She said: “You can absolutely see both sides.

“What we have been told at the moment is unclear, and there definitely needs to be more clarity in place for parents that want to send their children back.

“We don’t really know where they have plucked these year groups from, or the June 1 date, and we have seen some areas saying they absolutely won’t be re-opening schools on that date.

“The whole thing is a mess at the minute. I tried to follow the DfE guidance and I had to give up.

“People need really clear information about what help is on offer, what the best science says and people want reassurance.

“Parents will make their own decisions based on what they have read. You’re talking about the safety of the children and what they can bring back into the home so it’s not a decision people will take lightly and people want to feel well informed when they make it.

“At the moment that’s not the case.

“Of course some parents aren’t in a position to choose, if they are unemployed or need to return to work.

“The number of vulnerable children who have been going into school is a big concern as well. About 15 percent of those who should be in are in, and that’s worrying because they’ve been deemed vulnerable for a reason. But on that Notts is doing better than most parts of the country.

“(The reopening of schools) is a massive organisational task for staff, and I don’t envy headteachers at all because the responsibility for the safety of the children and their staff is huge.

“I imagine there will be a lot of sleepless nights, and largely because of situations completely beyond their control.”

Nottinghamshire County Council today confirmed they will not be fining parents. They were approached for comment.

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