‘Shambles’ as Covid hotspot missed off primary school list by accident

Many primary schools will be unexpectedly closed on Monday (Picture: PA)

The Government has been blasted as an ‘utter shambles’ after the Department for Education admitted it had missed Redbridge off a list of areas where primary schools should not reopen by accident. 

The London borough was last night added to a host of places in which teachers are being told to switch to remote learning, amid widespread confusion over why it had not been included on the original guidance. 

Earlier Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had announced a major Government U-turn in the reopening of schools, by delaying the return of secondary school pupils and telling some areas that primaries should remain closed – just days before parents were going to send their children back after the Christmas holidays. 

The Department for Education reportedly blamed the Department for Health over for the error, which saw Redbridge excluded despite being the borough with the second highest case rate in the capital. 

The move to later add it to the list means that parents in the area will have even less time to make new arrangements for next week, when they had expected children to be back in schools after a series of government promises. 

Local Labour MP Wes Streeting tore into government, tweeting: ‘Redbridge *is* added to the list. Primary schools will not re-open to all pupils on Monday. 

‘We have a situation where lists are being updated only minutes after publication. This is an utter shambles.

‘I’m so sorry to parents and staff affected by Government incompetence.’

A list of areas where primary schools are going online (Picture:

Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal added: ‘It appears excluding Redbridge from the list was yet another in a long list of recent mistakes made by our government. 

‘Redbridge primary schools will not open on Monday 4th January.’

The Labour councillor continued: ‘The government has again left our schools, parents & children in limbo.

‘We need clarity now over which schools are opening, when and most importantly why’.

Greenwich, where the local hospital has declared a major incident, was also excluded from the list despite high Covid rates. 

Many have suggested that omission could be linked to the government previously launching legal action against the local authority for trying to close schools before Christmas amid rising cases. 

Meanwhile there were accusations that the decision to keep Camden’s schools open was made ‘entirely without rationale’.

A Department for Education source told Sky News that the Redbridge error was made by the Department for Health and Social Care, which they said compiled the list. has contacted the Department for Education for comment. 

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MORE : Closing schools for extra week was ‘right thing to do’, Gavin Williamson says


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