Wokingham Lib Dem councillors have criticised the government over their late announcement on school closures. Lib Dem Group Leader Councillor Lindsay Ferris said “It is quite appalling that the government left it until the term had officially started to announce that schools will be returning to lockdown conditions. Communication locally has not been helped by a statement from the council, confusingly headed ‘School Re-opening in Wokingham’ – the opposite of what is happening.
“We feel great sympathy for all the school staff, who had only 12 hours’ notice that everything had changed. We also feel sympathy for parents, trying to juggle work and childcare, with no time to prepare. The decision should, and could, have been made much sooner, as many were urging. But dither and delay is what we have come to expect from this government.”
Children’s Services lead for the Lib Dems in Wokingham Councillor Prue Bray says “Schools have now moved back to online learning, with only vulnerable children and the children of key workers able to attend school in person. We know that there are still children who do not have access to the IT equipment they need to be able to work at home. We are urging the council to help schools address this, and have ourselves managed to put at least one school in touch with a company that was willing to assist.”
She added “The Lib Dems want to be sure that there are no hiccups with the provision of free school meals, including during the February half-term. We have been campaigning on Free School Meals for some time and will be raising it at the next council meeting on 21st January.”
Wokingham Lib Dem councillors are also pressing for teachers and other school staff to be included in the early stages of the national vaccination programme, in order to ensure that schools can operate safely and re-open as soon as possible.
There is a national petition asking for teachers and school staff to be vaccinated https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/554316