Bucks schools to remain open despite high level of Covid infections

A breakdown on how schools in Bucks are planning to operate this term

Schools are set to remain open but exams could be heavily pared back, the council has said.

Councillor Anita Cranmer, who is responsible for education and children’s services at Bucks Council, said the authority has no intention of shutting schools around the county in response to the current level of Covid infections.

During a cabinet meeting on Thursday, she told colleagues there are “no plans to close any schools” in the county – adding future exams will still be taken, albeit “very pared down”.

stock school image

However, it is understood decisions concerning examinations will be taken in February.

Her statement comes as schools reopen with the expectation of face-to-face teaching amid a variety of Covid restrictions.

In England, secondary school pupils are advised to wear face masks in class and in communal spaces – although this advice will be reviewed on January 26.

Her comments also come amid reports some pupils across the country are choosing not to comply with the guidance, with one mother in Kent telling the BBC her son said it is hard to concentrate for long periods wearing a mask.

Councillor Cranmer: “Schools have gone back, we have no plans to close any schools.

“Decisions about examinations are being taken in February – and they’ll be very pared down.”

Council leader Martin Tett: “I’ve seen a lot of conflicting advice on the radio and television over the last couple of weeks while I’ve been off about ‘will they – won’t they have formal exams? Will we go back to teacher assessment?’ – lots of teachers are advocating teacher assessment.

“I believe the government’s position at the moment is that exams will go ahead.” Councillor Cranmer agreed.

Councillor Cranmer also sought to reassure colleagues that students returning to school were following Covid guidance: “All secondary students are wearing masks, every child has been tested with lateral flow and it is planned that vaccinations will be offered further down the line for the 11-plus groups.”

Wycombe High School, John Hampden Grammar School and The Royal Grammar School were approached for comment