HAVING been a governor of a number of schools within Bury over the last eight years, six as chair of governors at our borough’s only state nursery school, I have witnessed first-hand the professionalism and commitment of our brilliant teachers and support staff.

This has continued throughout the coronavirus crisis, with schools continuing to teach the children of key workers in a safe, protective environment together with supporting all pupils in their educational journey through home learning and online lessons.

The decision as to when schools should reopen raises real concerns for all parents and staff members who want to ensure that our children are safe within their educational environment.

There are many stakeholders whose advice and guidance is crucial to reassuring everyone and providing clarity to parents in making the best decisions for their children.

The government, medical and scientific evidence, teaching unions, together with the views of our local authority will assist headteachers and governing bodies to take the action they feel is necessary to reopen their schools.

This week, Bury’ schools have received direction from our council that they should not reopen on June 1 but have been offered no detail on a phased plan as to when this should happen.

We all want our children back in school at the earliest date to allow their educational development to continue and to ensure the key support that is given to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and children with special educational needs in the classroom setting is in place.

To this end, Bury MBC, with reference to government guidance, scientific evidence, the views of teachers, parents and governing bodies should lay out when in their view it will be safe to fully open schools and what measures they will use to determine when it is safe to fully reopen.

Schools sit at the centre of our local community, providing the means by which children no matter their background or personal circumstances have the opportunity to achieve their educational potential and a bright, prosperous future.

As a father-of-two and your local Member of Parliament I will support headteachers and governing bodies in their continued drive to deliver outstanding education, especially to the most vulnerable and work to ensure parents have access to all relevant scientific and medical evidence that will underpin the choices you make on behalf of your children.