Full list of Sunderland schools which remain closed following festive break amid concerns about new variant
A number of Sunderland primary schools have not reopened to pupils following the festive break.
It comes as unions representing teachers and support staff have told members it is not safe to go back into schools as Covid cases rise and tighter restrictions are enforced.
Primary schools across Sunderland were set to reopen on Monday, January 4, or Tuesday, January 5, depending on scheduled inset days – but Together for Children has now confirmed at least 11 schools will not open as planned.
The schools delayed reopening is due to ‘business continuity issues’ although details have not confirmed how long each school will remain closed for.
There are currently no schools are closed or have classes self-isolating due to confirmed Covid-19 cases.
The following schools are only open to vulnerable children and key worker’s children and will be closed to other pupils:
Barmston Village Primary School
Diamond Hall Infant Academy
Hetton Primary School
Marlborough Primary School
Mill Hill Primary School
St Leonard's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School
St Patrick's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School
St Paul's CofE Primary School - includes office and site staff
Thorney Close Primary School
Newbottle Primary Academy – also open to Year 3 and Year 5
Wessington Primary School – open for Year 1 to Year 6 pupils (nursery and reception are closed)
St Cuthbert's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School – decision to be made today
A statement published on Monday and signed by unions GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, UNISON and Unite says: “The government’s chaotic handling of the opening of schools has caused confusion for teachers, school staff and parents alike. Bringing all pupils back into classrooms while the rate of infection is so high is exposing education sector workers to serious risk of ill-health and could fuel the pandemic.
"Unions have called for a pause in the reopening of schools for anyone other than vulnerable children and children of key workers, and a move to remote learning for all while Covid-secure working arrangements are reviewed. All school staff continuing to work in schools should be given priority access to Covid-19 vaccinations.”
Seaham Trinity Primary School, in County Durham, is among a number of North East Schools set to remain closed on Tuesday - which was meant to be pupils’ first day back.
Posting on social media on Sunday, headteacher Ray Bushby said: “The staff are deeply concerned but remain committed to teaching the children.
"The local authority has said that the decision to move to remote learning will be left to school leaders for individual schools. At the moment I am looking at keeping the school closed on Tuesday to enable us to get as much information as possible to update our risk assessment and then determine whether it is safe for the children and staff to return on Wednesday or we move towards remote learning.
"I share all your concerns about the risk of infection and the guidance we are getting from the government is inconsistent and seems to contradict the SAGE scientists!
"I apologise for any inconvenience but I have satisfy my own concerns over safety of the children and staff before I can reopen the gates. As with every decision I have made during this situation the safety of everyone will always guide the direction we take.”