GM Mayor Andy Burnham warns of "chaotic situation" for schools from Monday

Millions of children and worried parents could be facing a “chaotic situation” at school on Monday, Andy Burnham has warned.
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Millions of children and worried parents could be facing a “chaotic situation” at school on Monday, Andy Burnham has warned.

The Greater Manchester mayor said the Government’s “top-down” and “blanket” approach to schools reopening should be changed to allow local head teachers and councils to take the decision themselves.

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He also suggested the Government should instead consider delaying the reopening of primary schools and adopt a staggered approach, as in secondary schools.

Mr Burnham, speaking on the BBC’s Breakfast programme, said: “The position can’t stay as it is today, we have to have a change today.

“It will be quite a chaotic situation tomorrow, I think, given all of the anxieties that people have.

“There are many parents in Greater Manchester waking up quite anxious this morning, teachers as well of course and support staff in schools, and children.

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“So there’s a lot of people who are worried about what’s happening and I think the really important thing is this doesn’t become a big political row today.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy BurnhamGreater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham

Mr Burnham advised any head teacher who did not want to reopen on Monday to contact their local director of public health.

He added: “Let the head come to a balanced judgment based on what’s happening.

“Greater Manchester is currently below the England average when it comes to the number of cases.

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“The question does arise, why are schools opening in areas with higher cases than some boroughs in London?

“So the position is different in different parts of the country and I think a blanket approach – either to say blanket reopening or blanket closure – in some ways is causing the problem. Local flexibility might just be the way through this.”

Speaking later on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged parents to send their children to primary schools that are open in England on Monday.

“Yes, absolutely they should (go back) in areas where schools are open,” he said.

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