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5th Dec, 2021

Rachel Maclean MP raises 3-tier issue over return to school plans

Ross Crawford 13th May, 2020

FEARS that Redditch’s three tier schools system has been forgotten under under the Government’s phased back to school plan have prompted local MP Rachel Maclean to write to Education Secretary Gavin Wilkinson.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Sunday that Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children should start going back after the May half-term.

But concerns have been expressed as it appears designed with the two-tier school system in mind and has not taken into consideration the town’s three-tier format.

In her letter Mrs Maclean says: “A number of parents in Redditch have written to me about their concerns that their children will not be preapred for the transition from Year 4 to 5 and again for the transition from Year 8 to 9 as under the current guidance they will not be returning to school from June 1.”

The Standard was contacted by Marion Holdsworth who was concerned about her Year 8 granddaughter and the impact coronavirus could have on her move to high school in September.

She said: “I really feel for her at the moment – she and her classmates are being forgotten about.

“I just think it’s wrong.

“I agree children who are transitioning should go back to school for the final term but that should include Year 8s and 4s.”

Mrs Maclean said a number of parents had raised their concerns with her about the issue, and whilst acknowledging them she said: “Year 6 are getting ready for their Key Stage 2 SATS tests and that of course also applies to middle schools in Redditch.”

However she added she recognised the need to get children transitioning to secondary school prepared, which was why she had written to the Education Secretary.

Sarah Wilkins, Director for Education and Early Help at Worcestershire Children First said it was working with the Department for Education (DfE), schools and early years providers on a plan for the phased return.

“Our priority is to make sure that schools and nurseries are safe places for children and for staff.

“The Government has outlined that children should be able to return to early years settings, and for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school from the beginning of next month.

“This aims to ensure that the youngest children, and those preparing for a different stage of their learning, have time with their teachers.”

She added she recognised in Worcestershire the importance of the transitional stages – from first to middle or middle to high.

“We are talking to the DfE and with headteachers to develop plans in the best interests of children and young people and are realistic and manageable through the phases of change that the Government is proposing.”

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