Nearly half of England’s headteachers are being forced to prioritise class places among vulnerable students and the children of key workers because of a huge increase in demand, according to a survey of school leaders.
The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), which carried out the survey, said the government’s “confused” messages to parents on school attendance risks defeating its aim of suppressing the virus.
Thirty-four per cent of school leaders said they had 31% or more of their normal roll attend school in person on Thursday, and 48% said they had had to prioritise places in their school because of excess demand, suggesting heads are being forced to make difficult assessments of which parents and children have the greatest need.
Despite parents being told to keep their children at home, one in 10 heads said they had between 41% and 60% of their pupils come into school during the new lockdown.
The NAHT accused the government of mixed messaging. The Department for Education (DfE) has said key worker parents should keep their children at home if they can, while telling schools they should not limit the number of their children or vulnerable pupils on site during lockdown.
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