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Private schools back in september come what may

(44 Posts)
mrscampbellblackagain Wed 17-Jun-20 11:24:36

according to this article

OP’s posts: |
Notcontent Wed 17-Jun-20 11:33:26

I can only see the first paragraph of the article as The Telegraph has a pay wall. However, I think it’s not that simple. My dd goes to a private girls school and I am sure she will be back in September in some form but unless something changes significantly before then it’s not likely to be completely back to normal.

For example, I am sure there are some teachers who may be vulnerable and who may be unable to come back to the classroom.

mrscampbellblackagain Wed 17-Jun-20 11:36:22

The article basically says schools will do their own risk assesments and some are working on their own track and trace. Provided they get sign off by their insurers they can go back.

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Milicentbystander72 Wed 17-Jun-20 11:37:49

Do private schools not have to adhere to government guidelines then?

Milicentbystander72 Wed 17-Jun-20 11:39:01

I'm a school Governor under a MAT. We've done our own risk assessments to but we still have wait and see what the gov guidelines are.

Notcontent Wed 17-Jun-20 11:41:33

Milicent - I am pretty sure they do have to comply with government guidance. So, for example, they could not decide to let everyone comeback. Buy I suppose if the government says that all year groups can go back in September, subject to certain safety measures, then private schools might have more flexibility about how they implement those measures.

mrscampbellblackagain Wed 17-Jun-20 11:42:15

That is the point at debate, if they go against govt guidelines but have insurance cover then the article suggests they are ok.

A local private school is taking yr 7 back next week - is this within govt guidelines or not, I am not sure?

OP’s posts: |
Notcontent Wed 17-Jun-20 11:44:22

Sorry - meant to say they could not decide to let everyone come back now.

It’s the same rules for everyone - just like a private gym would not be able to open right now.

thewinkingprawn Wed 17-Jun-20 11:45:47

They are not insured if they don’t follow government guidelines according to our private school. They would rather have taken Y5 back for example in the first cohort that came back because of the senior school exam prep they do but could not. Y5 is however going back on Monday now that the government effectively said schools can do as they please as long as they stick to 2m apart etc. In September it will be no different - they will be able to take as many children as possible within the government guidelines.

Notcontent Wed 17-Jun-20 11:46:15

A local private school is taking yr 7 back next week - is this within govt guidelines or not, I am not sure?

I find that rather puzzling. (And I am a lawyer!)

mrscampbellblackagain Wed 17-Jun-20 11:46:28

I reckon the big schools will be lobbying hard to get back in September as they all need those autumn term fees to be paid wink

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mrscampbellblackagain Wed 17-Jun-20 11:47:08

I thought it was odd Notcontent - it isn't the school my children are at but the parents seem very happy about it.

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Mintjulia Wed 17-Jun-20 11:47:52

Private schools have to deliver their own budgets, while state schools do not. I suspect that may have much to do with it.

If they can comply with SD and hygiene requirements then why not? Our local school has large tents on the playing field, to give extra classroom space. Necessity being the mother of invention and all that.

ouch321 Wed 17-Jun-20 11:49:11

Private schools are private businesses so the government cannot dictate to them in the same way as state schools.
Generally most or all will follow the gov advice for the state sector as to not do so leaves them at risk of being sued used should a child or teacher fall sick for lack of care or similar.

Notcontent Wed 17-Jun-20 12:07:55

Private schools are private businesses so the government cannot dictate to them in the same way as state schools.

Based on that reasoning, the government would not be able to dictate to shops, gyms, restaurants, hotel, etc. The reason they are able to dictate, is that special legislation was enacted, the Coronavirus Act, giving the government the power to give directions to schools, shops, etc.

Milicentbystander72 Wed 17-Jun-20 12:10:40

Yes agreed Notcontent.

I know private schools are well, private, but that does not mean they are above the law?

Comefromaway Wed 17-Jun-20 12:19:52

The problem for boarding schools is that the government have given no guidance.

My daughter attends a vocational school with a mixture of day students & boarders. The boarding houses are off site. In addition Upper School (6th form) have a mixture of those who commute, those who live with host families & those who live in Private student Halls of residences.

Seeline Wed 17-Jun-20 12:24:32

I read that article earlier, but of course it's behind a paywall now, so trying to remember the details. It was something about during a High Court challenge on all the lockdown measures it came to light that the Government hadn't actually made it law for schools to close, only advice. Therefore if schools can show that they can socially distance, and meet the health & safety requirements there is no reason why they shouldn't re-open. And yes the article did mention that some of them were looking into their own track and trace systems etc. The insurance is the big issue I think.

Milicentbystander72 Wed 17-Jun-20 12:28:27

I know this isn't relevant to the thread really as I'm talking about state Secondary MAT trusts but, I know that our own MAT couldn't close until the Gov 'advised' because it would invalidate all their insurance including travel insurance needed to pay out for all the overseas trips cancelled.

I find it hard to believe that private schools have vastly different terms of insurance. However I may be completely wrong of course.

Rainydaysss Wed 17-Jun-20 12:31:32

This is what is says- I signed up last week for a free trial because my DDs head wrote something...

Private schools are preparing to disregard Government guidance and open at the start of the new academic year "come what may", The Telegraph can reveal.

Some of the most prestigious fee-paying institutions are setting up their own track and trace systems, which they aim to have up and running for September.

It comes as the Government formally admitted in a High Court document, in response to a legal challenge to its lockdown policies, that it was a "request, not a direction" for schools to close.

A governor at one of the country's leading private schools said headteachers were "furious" with ministers over their dithering, adding that schools "could have legally and safely opened this term".

He said: "We have had enough. We will definitely open in September using our own hygiene measures, our own risk-based assessment of social distancing and our own test and trace system.

"There is no confidence left in the Government, given their failed promises. All schools should do the same."

Downing Street has come under fire for its policy on schools reopening, having rowed back on plans to get all primary school pupils back to the classroom before the summer, then later said it would encourage this after all.

Earlier this week, new official guidance said every secondary school pupil in England will be allowed to return to school before the summer, but only for one day. Previously, officials had said only Year 10 and Year 12 pupils would be allowed back before the summer.

Barnaby Lenon, the chairman of the Independent Schools Council, urged ministers to give headteachers the freedom to open as they see fit from September.

"I quite understand that trying to impose Government rules on an entire nation is inevitable in the early days of the withdrawal from lockdown," Mr Lenon said. "But from September, they should be relying on the good judgment of heads, all of whom will have carried out risk assessments."

Mr Lenon, a former headmaster of Harrow School, said there was now a "significant demand" among private schools to be given a greater degree of flexibility on how they go about reopening.

The Government's legal defence of its lockdown policies, submitted to the High Court in response to a judicial review launched by businessman Simon Dolan, states that schools were never required to close.

"This constituted a request, not a direction," the document says. "The Secretary of State has not exercised his powers to make a closure direction in respect of any school."

Private schools intend to use the document to convince their insurers that it is safe for them to reopen from September.

A major barrier to headteachers welcoming more pupils back to the classroom than the year groups stipulated by the Government has been insurance companies refusing to cover schools' legal liability if they go against the official recommendation.

"This gives us the legal basis to confirm that we definitely will be reopening in September, come what may," the private school governor said. "The moment that lots of parents realise that independent schools will be taking this stance, they will look to their own schools to adopt a similar stance – and this will ramp up pressure on the Government."

He added that the independent sector faces an "existential threat" and it is "business critical" for it to reopen in September, adding: "Clearly a number of schools have pupils from overseas and, if they don't know in the next few weeks that the school will open, they will make other arrangements."

On Tuesday night, the Prime Minister insisted it was safe for pupils to return to school.

Boris Johnson told the Downing Street press conference: "I want to say to all parents whose children are eligible to return to primary school – and there's loads of them – I want to show you it is safe, and there is no need for your kids to miss out on their education. I hope they will go to school

WotnoPasta Wed 17-Jun-20 12:34:49

I know a few people who teach in private schools. They all seem to be already in financial trouble anyway, this lockdown is a disaster for them. One of them more than half the students are foreign nationals who won’t be returning. I’m sure they are desperate to make some cash

SeasonFinale Wed 17-Jun-20 12:36:11

But some private schools have more space generally with performing arts spaces, sports halls, gyms, studios, labs etc and already have small class sizes so would generally be able to at least cater for a 2m distancing (whether teens keep to it is another argument). I suspect if schools can show they can distance better than open non-essential shops then insurers will be happy to take a possibly enhanced premium from them.

SeasonFinale Wed 17-Jun-20 12:37:20

WotnoPasta - some schools are. Many are not mainly because they are delivering remote education and still collecting fees.

DippyAvocado Wed 17-Jun-20 12:37:54

It will be much easier for private schools to get their pupils back because they tend to have much smaller class sizes.

Comefromaway Wed 17-Jun-20 12:39:33

Some private schools never closed. One near to me is pretty much next door to a hospital and a lot of families are medical so they remained open for key workers children.

Some had International boarders who were unable to return home.

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