Top government scientist says parents’ fears about schools reopening are ‘misplaced’



PARENT’S concerns about schools reopening are “misplaced”, one of the Government’s scientific advisers has claimed.

Dr Gavin Morgan insisted families did not need to worry but admitted there was more to be done to convince the public things were ok.

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The expert sought to assure parents they could send kids to school

An expert in education psychology who sits on SAGE, Dr Morgan suggested the Government’s messaging had been too successful and scared people.

He told The Telegraph: “The Government’s campaign has been too successful.

“People are scared, people are frightened. And this is really misplaced because schools are safe places.

“Lots of schools are ahead on this, they have put social distancing measures in place already, they are safe and they are equipped to open.”

Speaking in a personal capacity, Dr Morgan added: “We should have started thinking about and planning for a return to school right from the moment they closed, back in March.

“The Government should have been treating people like adults, not thinking they will be terrified of data.”

Boris Johnson has insisted he wants primaries to reopen to pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from next month.

This morning Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former head of Ofsted,  claimed the schools shutdown risks creating a “lost generation of youngsters”.

He told Sky News: “Yes, they should [reopen] and other countries have opened up their schools in Europe and beyond and so should we.

“The critical thing is until parents and families feel confident to send their children to school safely, that’s the big issue.

“It’s all right opening up schools but if parents lack that confidence then they are not going to send them in, the government should have had two or three months to really prepare parents for the opening on the 1st June.”

Sir Michael added: “What is absolutely clear is that a lot of youngsters have lost a considerable amount of time while this lockdown has taken place.”

 Some children will be going back to school on June 1

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Some children will be going back to school on June 1Credit: AFP or licensors

This week a bombshell report by the government’s top scientists warned lockdown has caused a “shock” to kids and will affect work opportunities for the rest of their lives.

Downing Street published the findings from SAGE in a move to reassure worried parents and teachers about its plan to re-open schools on June 1.

The documents – which also confirmed the risk of children catching coronavirus was “much lower” than adults – were released as militant teaching unions and councils prepared to defy the government and refuse to go back.

Only a handful of councils plan to reopen schools on June 1, leaving parents across the country in the dark over their children’s education.

The final decision on whether or not to open up classrooms will fall to headteachers and teaching unions.

Now new documents warn children will be affected forever by missing out on lessons, with the most vulnerable hit hardest.

In a report into the impact of school closures, it says: “A cohort of children have experienced a shock to their education which will persist and affect their education and work outcomes for the rest of their lives.

“Similarly, the current lockdown may lead to an increase in adverse childhood experiences.”

The document also warns this could include domestic violence, poor parental mental health, child neglect, and abuse.

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