Plans to extend the school days, either through holidays or extra hours added on, are currently being debated and discussed within the government and the education board.
The goal is to allow children to catch up after all the lockdowns they have faced that has disrupted their learning. Boris Johnson is facing intense pressure by others trying to persuade him to bring forward the reopening of schools on March 8th.
• Scientists are warning the Prime Minister that he is being overly ‘cautious’.
• At the moment, confirmed timings by Boris Johnson, is March 8th for the reopening of schools.
• Tory MPs is pushing Boris to extend schools days so that children can catch up
• Unions, however, are incredibly against this idea.
Many people have different views on weather this potential idea is good or not; but the vast majority are going against.
One member of the public, Jodie Allin, shared her view saying “I don’t think it’s a good idea. This time is stressful for everyone and making a kid work longer or extra hours isn’t going to help.”
“Normally teachers can tell when the end of the term is coming because they are exhausted and so are the kids”
“It’s not going to help them learn but will make them more tired and they won’t take in any information”
Many other people agree with this view on the idea of dragging out school days or extending their term time.
Teaching unions and the NAHT school leaders have asked that Boris Johnson declines this idea, claiming that there are ‘better methods’ to help children along with their education and to catch up on lost time- describing the idea as a ‘superficially attractive’ policy.
Controversary between many people of authority and importance have brought this long-shot idea into many debates.
The government is currently working with teachers and parents to produce plans that will aid children on their education and to catch up on all the time they have lost. On one public notice from Downing Street they said that “The PM acknowledges that extended school closures have had a huge impact on pupil’s learning which will clearly take time to make up”
One parent said, “society needs some healing; education isn’t the most important thing. The government should do all it can to take the pressure off as soon as it can and then if they want to throw money at something, give it to low-income families for a holiday.”
“Happier families make for happier children. Then talk about schools and solving the long-term problems”.
Many experts consistently keep advising the PM that ‘there really isn’t a case for keeping all kids off until March 8’ due to the success of the vaccination drive and falling case numbers.
On the other hand, there have been a split between opinions by scientists and other experts on which solution is the most appropriate for the health and lives of civilisation and society. Scientific opinion argue that March 8th could actually be too soon for students to return back to the classroom.
Mr Johnson is intending to stick to the time he has set assuring the public that the vulnerable and elderly will have been given the injection by then.
The pressure by many political groups to bring forward the date is building up for the PM.
One person shared that she believed the extended days would be a good idea. “I think it would be better running them through the holidays, lengthening the school day might over-tire some children and therefore it would be counterproductive.”
Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology and advises the government said: ‘The latest Sage data on the contribution of reopening schools on the R-number is between 0.2 and 0.5.”
“That’s a huge range and my reading of the evidence is that it is at the lower end, which would suggest you could reopen primary schools after the February half term.”
An argument brought up by other scientists declared that bringing the school children back together too soon could cause another spike in the infection numbers.
Boris Johnson explained his approach of opening schools on March the 8’ as a “prudent and cautious’ plan in which he had no intention at all of changing.
“We have got to make a judgement about the effectiveness of the vaccines in bringing down the death rate and bringing down serious illness.”
“That judgement we are going to make in the week of the [February] 15th. We are going to look at all the data, we have seen some promising stuff from Israel but to the best of my knowledge we are not yet seeing the kind of conclusive data that we need on that key point.”
“Then we want to be waiting to ensure that after February 15 we leave three weeks for all the JCVI cohorts one to four, all those most vulnerable groups… have allowed their vaccination immunity to be acquired and as you know it takes about three weeks for it to properly set in.”
“That speaks to a date of about March 8. Then of course you need to give the schools two weeks notice to open.”
“For all those reasons we think that’s the sensible date. I just would say to people who understandably want to go faster, I share that anxiety and that urgency because we fought so hard and for so long to try to keep schools open, I think that was a reasonable thing to do, but what we don’t want to do now that we are making progress with the vaccine roll-out and we have got a timetable for the way ahead, we don’t want to be forced into reverse.”
“So we think this is the prudent and cautious approach and I think it much better to stick to that.”
Though some are for, a lot of the public are against the idea of extensions on school time. Dawn Cowling shared that; “Children still need the holiday. Those that have been religiously through their day schooling have done above and beyond.”
“I don’t believe in the fact that in schools younger children work 9 to 3, however they are working at home solidly. “
“Older secondary school children are on the screen from 8.40am until 4.30 in the evening- crazy hours, they need a break”.