Coronavirus: Schools could be put in large bubbles in Autumn

UK schools could create “year bubbles” of up to 240 pupils under Government plans to ensure all children can return to the classroom in September.

Primary school class sizes are currently capped at 15 pupils to reduce the number of interactions between young children, but these so-called “bubbles” are set to be doubled to 30 pupils.

In secondary schools, bubbles of entire year groups could be introduced to limit the number of interactions with pupils of other ages, according to the draft proposals seen by the Huffington Post.

Reports from Huffington Post suggest parents can also expect: 

-Students to be told to sit at desks facing forwards in the same direction, rather than at circular tables.

-A greater focus on the core subjects of English and maths to help pupils catch up, as well as on tackling disruptive behaviour following lockdown.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said a full return to schools in the autumn has to be done in a way that does not spark a new wave of coronavirus infections.

He said: “That is what the Government guidance is aimed at achieving.

The processes involved are logistically problematic, so this is going to be the art of the possible, rather than an ideal solution.

“We are urging the Government to have a plan B in place in the event that we arrive at September and the situation with coronavirus is too precarious to allow a full reopening.

“Frankly, it seems to be on a knife-edge at the moment.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Pupils have been returning to school since June 1.

We’ve already given primary schools the flexibility to invite more children back if they have the capacity, and 1.5 million children were in school at the end of last week.

“We’ve said we want to see all children back at school in September – returning to full primary and secondary class sizes in a safe way.

“We continue to engage with school leaders, teaching unions and the wider sector about our plans and will publish full details later this week.”

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