Harrow Council advises all primary schools to move to online learning from Monday

Harrow Council have written to all primary school headteachers in Harrow advising them that they should move to online learning for the majority of children (but remain open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children).

The letter says: “Harrow remains on the list of local authorities wherein primary schools are asked to remain open to pupils despite the high rates of infection in the borough. We are therefore writing to you to advise you, based on the available public health data, that primary schools in Harrow should move to online learning for the majority of children next week in the same way as those schools in surrounding Boroughs.”

It also states: “We have shared the up-to-date data with the DFE, our local MPs, and local Elected Members. This data would seem to clearly demonstrate the need for Harrow primary schools to be treated the same as all our surrounding Boroughs.

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“Whilst we all share the ambition to have schools open to all children as soon as possible we are also clear that the decision about primary schools being open to all pupils should be based on a clear set of data and criteria that can be readily understood by our school community, parents and carers.

“We were not and are still not satisfied that the decision about Harrow primary schools is based on the correct interpretation of the available data, shared with you yesterday and today.”

You can read the full letter here.

Harrow Council Leader Graham Henson issued a message via MyHarrow saying: “Today we have written to all head teachers of primary schools in Harrow advising them to move to online learning for the majority of pupils from Monday.

“This decision has not been taken lightly. Since the announcement on Wednesday by the Secretary of State for Education, my colleagues and I have been in talks with the Government, the Department for Education, our local MPs and Councillors and many more stakeholders to try and change the decision that Harrow primary schools should open from Monday.

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“Despite this, Harrow remains on the list of local authorities wherein primary schools are asked to remain open to pupils. Given the high rates of infection in Harrow and the verosity of the new strain of the virus, we have taken this action to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“While we want to keep disruption to our children’s education and school life to a minimum, we are extremely concerned about allowing children back to schools while our rates are so high and the impact of this on the spread of Coronavirus, already stretched local NHS services and saving lives.

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“We have shared the data so that primary school headteachers can now make a sensible and evidence based decision as to whether they open to the majority of pupils as originally planned on Monday or move to online learning.

“All schools including primary schools will remain open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children – there is no change to this arrangement. If you have children in a Harrow school or college, they will be in touch with you directly to share how they will commence teaching next week.

“I hope you understand why we have taken this decision and would like to wish you a happy and healthy 2021. Thank you for all you are doing to break the chain of infection and to keep Harrow safe.

“Please stay safe and take every precaution to do so.”

Source: Harrow Council