When will private schools reopen?May 20, 2020
Schools across the country will reopened from June 1, 2020, as the government plans to slowly ease the country out of lockdown.
But what does this mean for private schools, will they have to reopen too?
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When will private schools re-open in the UK?
Current guidance government is that schools will begin reopening from June 1, 2020, if the number of coronavirus infections in the UK continues to decrease.
No official guidance has been given on private schools, but it is expected that they will reopen at the same time.
This move has sparked controversy, with many insisting it’s not safe to open schools again so soon.
Some councils across the country, in places such as Liverpool, are refusing to follow the government guidelines, and will not be telling kids to come back to school.
Could private schools go back before state schools?
Private schools would find social distancing measures easier to enforce, as they generally have smaller class sizes, it has been suggested.
This is because they can use facilities such as sports halls, and theatres to teach classes, making them able to keep social distancing measures in place.
Dr Martin Stephen, a former chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference which represents the country’s leading public schools, has said that paid-for schools have spent "extravagantly" on expanding facilities instead of classrooms.
He said: "By and large the money they have extravagantly spent over the past 20 years has not gone into classrooms, it has gone into building sports halls and theatres."
"For a period of time you can see a situation where sport ceases to exist and that would also apply to music and theatre. Instead, teaching could take place in the sports hall, in the theatre and in the concert hall."
Can parents get a refund on private school fees?
All independent schools offer financial help to families, and while it is usually offered when a child enters school, it can be extended to families whose circumstances change.
Most private schools have funds available for this situation, and can defer fees if there is a prospect of employment in the future.
This is usually up to twelve months, and schools rarely charge interest.
Neil Roskilly, chief executive of the Independent Schools Association, said that parents facing financial difficulties should contact their school as soon as possible.
Have private schools furloughed staff?
Yes, private schools are furloughing staff under the taxpayer funded Covid-19 scheme.
Roskilly also said that many schools were expecting a tough time, as parents hit by the economic impact of coronavirus pull their children out.
He said: “There’s this image of private schools being these very well-funded organisations like Eton and Harrow, but the vast majority are nothing like that."
"They are having to look hard at their teaching staff and think about such things as furloughing.”
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