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Devon's schools taking more children

Twice national average

More than twice as many primary children are attending school in Devon as nationally.

Devon County Council 's figures show that just over 22 per cent of all primary-aged children are in school compared to 11 per cent nationally. The council says it's a tribute to the hard work and organisational skills of school staff.

Schools across the county have been open throughout the pandemic to cater for the children of key workers and vulnerable children, but on 1 June they started offering classes for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

On that first day 5,766 primary-aged children were in school. That number grew to 13,375 on 9 June. Of these, 7,767 were in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 and 5,608 were key worker and vulnerable children.

The figures show that 44 per cent of those offered a place have taken it up so far and numbers continue to increase.

Devon County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for schools James McInnes, said: “We have been working as one with local authority headteachers and academy headteachers. Every school has done its own covid-19 assessment and heads, teachers and teaching assistants have worked incredibly hard to put safety measures in place. That has reassured parents that our paramount concern is for the safety of their children - aong with our school staff of course - and it has given them the confidence to send them back.

Devon County Council is also one of 11 councils which are setting up local track and trace systems which will be tailored to every local area. But many of our schools simply don't have the room to accommodate many more pupils with the social distancing rules we currently have. The Government has given headteachers the freedom to do more if they have the room and the staff available and I welcome that.

"But it is now vitally important that we all work together to achieve more clarity for parents and families on exactly what we will be able to offer them in the new academic year."

Next week, secondary schools will begin to offer Year 10 and Year 12 students the opportunity of face to face time with their teachers. Secondary schools have also been offering provision for key worker and vulnerable children throughout the pandemic and the county council's figures show that three per cent have taken up the offer compared with one per cent nationally.

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