Responding to the confirmation that all pupils in England will return on March 8, HMC General Secretary Dr Simon Hyde, said:
“With the phased return of pupils in Scotland and Wales today, the Prime Minister’s decision to welcome all pupils in England back to school is welcome.
“With infection rates falling and vaccinations proceeding at an impressive rate, the public health position looks increasingly secure. As the government has repeatedly advised, schools themselves are safe places for pupils and staff. This is not least due to the incredible work done by school staff, but is also the result of the common sense and public spirit of our pupils, who are determined to get back to school.
“Now that infection rates are declining to manageable numbers, test and trace will form an important ingredient in schools’ COVID-19 precautions. Ideally tests should be carried out at home, relieving the burden on schools, but institutions now have robust procedures in place and will be ready to implement them.
“It remains a disappointment that despite the excellent partnership work undertaken by HMC schools, the government remains unwilling to contribute to our testing administrative costs on the same basis as state schools. Test and trace is a public health measure designed to protect us all and it should be funded equitably.”