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Dorset Council says plans are being made to welcome more pupils back into school across the county.

The authority says it is working with schools as they plan to open for more children from Reception, Year One and Year Six.

The earliest possible start date for these pupils will be 1 June. This will depend on government advice and arrangements at individual schools.

Secondary and upper schools in Dorset are also working on plans to hold some face to face sessions for Year 10 and 12 before the summer holiday.  

Dorset schools are following guidance from the Department for Education and Dorset Council. Plans are being made to reduce the risk of infection in schools as much as possible. Risk assessments are being carried out.

Arrangements will vary, as what is needed in a small primary will be very different from a large secondary or upper school. Classes will potentially be very different, as measures will need to be put in place to help keep children and staff as safe as possible.

Special Schools are working with families individually to agree when it is safe for each pupil to return to school. Children and young people who are shielding because they are considered clinically vulnerable should continue to shield and should not return to school.

Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.

Councillor Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help, said: ‘I would like to thank our schools and all their staff for their work during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our schools have been open throughout for the children of key workers and vulnerable children and I know they are now working hard on plans to welcome more pupils back into the classroom.’

Dorset schools currently remain open for the children of key workers, those with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and vulnerable children, which includes children who have a social worker.

Schools will be in touch with parents and carers to discuss arrangements to welcome back more pupils. Schools will update parents and carers again, as soon as plans are finalised and the date from which schools can admit more pupils is confirmed. Each school will keep parents and carers informed.

Latest government guidance for parents and carers is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

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