Following an announcement this week by the government about major changes to the phased face-to-face return of secondary-age pupils, the council has clarified arrangements.

Before Christmas, the government initially announced a phased return with the expectation that face-to-face teaching would continue for all secondary-age pupils from week commencing 11 January 2021. However, following a revised announcement on Wednesday 30 December, the new arrangements are:

  • in the week commencing 4 January, secondary schools should only provide on-site education to vulnerable children and children of key workers, prioritising remote education to those in exam years
  • in the week commencing 11 January, secondary schools should provide on-site education to vulnerable children, children of key workers and those in exam years, and provide remote education to all other pupils
  • from Monday 18 January, all pupils should return to on-site education

These arrangements also mean that educational settings for secondary-age pupils should ensure that their testing programmes are worked up from Monday 4 January, with testing to be rolled out during week commencing 11 January. Schools will be in touch with parents/carers to share information about testing pupils and obtaining consent for this. Early years and primary year groups will return as normal from the start of term.

Warrington Borough Council's Chief Executive, Professor Steven Broomhead MBE, said: “Before Christmas, we knew secondary schools and colleges would be required to make yet another herculean effort in this pandemic, to ensure that new testing regimes could be established in their settings from 4 January.

“I am pleased to see that this requirement has now been pushed back to 11 January. This extra week grants our schools and colleges more time to arrange the logistically mammoth operation of establishing their respective testing regimes, and our officers in education services are on-hand to provide support through what we know is a particularly demanding time for our education partners.

“To Warrington’s parents and carers, please make a note of the revised dates for term beginning, and please be reassured that our schools and colleges are geared up to do all they can to ensure that face-to-face teaching can be as safe as possible when it resumes.”

To read the full guidance about the reopening of schools, visit the website.