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Coronavirus: Families won't be fined for not sending children back to school

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Families who refuse to send their children back to school if they reopen later this year will not be fined, the government has confirmed.

It comes days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed plans to get young children back to school by June 1.

Mr Johnson is hoping to get youngsters in transition years such as reception, Year 1 and Year 6, back into education as soon as possible.

Secondary schools, sixth form and colleges will also be working towards providing some face-to-face contact with pupils in Year 10 and Year 12 to prepare them for exams next year.

However, these changes will only happen if the transmission of the coronavirus has decreased and the R remains below one.

If schools are welcomed back there will be a number of changes, including: reducing the size of classes and keeping children in small groups without mixing, staggered break and lunchtimes as well as drop-offs and pick-ups and increasing the frequency of cleaning.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I know how hard schools, colleges, early years settings and parents are working to make sure children and young people can continue to learn at home, and I cannot thank them enough for that.

“This marks the first step towards having all young people back where they belong..."

“But nothing can replace being in the classroom, which is why I want to get children back to school as soon as it is safe to do so.

"The latest scientific advice indicates it will be safe for more children to return to school from June 1, but we will continue to limit the overall numbers in school and introduce protective measures to prevent transmission.

“This marks the first step towards having all young people back where they belong – in nurseries, schools and colleges – but we will continue to be led by the scientific evidence and will only take further steps when the time is right.”

The government has also confirmed there is no penalty for families who do not send their children to school, but has said families will be "strongly encouraged to take up these places".

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies which is advising the Prime Minister and his government, claims the severity of the disease in children is lower than adults and it has "moderately high degree" of confidence that children aged up to 11 are less susceptible to it.

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