Family & Education

Jewish education leader urges government flexibility on school closure

Pajes says schools should have more freedom to decide when it's right to shut because of the pandemic


The head of the Jewish Leadership Council’s schools network, Pajes, has urged the government to allow schools more flexibility in deciding whether to close early because of the pandemic. 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today ordered one London council, Greenwich, to reverse its decision for schools to shut for the last week of term and switch to remote learning. 

But Rabbi David Meyer, executive director of Pajes, said on Tuesday, “Especially at secondary schools there is increasing evidence of the dangers of viral spread.  

“For areas at high risk, offering remote learning provision immediately before and after the holidays would have limited educational impact and may help protect families and limit the spread of the virus.” 

Rabbi Meyer said, “We appreciate the difficulties facing the Secretary of State but one size cannot fit all and we would urge him to allow school leaders the freedom to determine what is best for the students in their school.” 

JCoSS had plans to switch most pupils to digital lessons this week to cut the risk of Covid-19 spread in the run-up to the winter holidays with social distancing rules due to be relaxed over Christmas. But it reopened its gates on Tuesday for the final days of term after discussions with the Department for Education.

The rise in infections has led to London being moved to the higher, level tier-3 restrictions from Wednesday. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for early closure and a delayed return to secondary school in January. 

Rabbi Meyer said, “Schools leaders have done an exceptional job keeping schools running under the harshest of circumstances over the past few months and have always acted with the best interests of their students.” 

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