PARENTS in Worcester have voiced their opposition to plans to fine them if they don't send their children back to school in September.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the planned return of all pupils in England will be “compulsory.”

He said parents could be fined unless there is a “good reason” for their child’s absence, or if there was a local coronavirus spike which resulted in another lockdown.

Rachel Beckett-Stevens, from Worcester, said: “The government can issue me with as many fines as they like, but if I deem their return unsafe as their grandfather lives with us and is high risk due to age and ongoing illness, the threat of these fines will play no part in my decision to keep them off school and my family safe.

“I feel the government isn’t taking into account individual circumstances and grouping all families in the same category without making allowances for the vulnerable."

Her one son, Christopher, attends Tudor Grange Academy Worcester while her other son, Dylan, goes to Bishop Perowne C Of E College.

Mrs Beckett-Stevens added: “My boys are desperate to return to school but understand that if it’s not safe to do so then they won’t be returning.

“They have a reasonable schoolwork system at home, which can be carried on in September if needed. A lot could change over the next nine weeks, so I’ll be making my decision closer to the time.”


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Another Worcester mum, Gem Whyte, whose daughter is in reception, said: “I don’t agree parents should be fined if they don’t feel it is safe.

“I have every faith my child’s school are doing everything they can to keep our children and staff safe. However, at the moment they only have three-year groups in.

“I’m not sure how feasible it will be come September and I imagine it’s going to be really tricky for the schools to work with the government plans for all pupils to be back.

“I will wait and see how things are closer to the time as there is a lot of speculation at the moment. Our school has provided amazing online learning platforms which I feel could be continued and used for families who don’t want their children to go back.”

All schools closed in March as the government took action to try and stop the spread of coronavirus, with only vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers able to attend.

At the beginning of June, a phased reopening of primary schools began which allowed pupils in reception, year one and year six to return to the classroom.

The government scrapped their plan for all primary pupils in England to return to schools before the end of summer term.

Initial plans had been for all children in primary years to spend four weeks in school before the summer holidays, however the plan wasn’t thought to be feasible.