Sally-Anne Huang, Chair Elect of HMC and Head of James Allen’s Girls’ School, said:
“Heads are all striving to do the right thing and are best placed to determine how to bring their pupils back safely in line with the government’s medical advice. We welcome the current flexibility currently allowed by government for bringing back next year’s exam students. This is sensible given the regional variations in infection rates and differences in size and shape of schools, parental circumstances and their feelings about allowing children to return.
“Large numbers of HMC heads are planning to open to some extent in June and welcome children back in line with government guidelines. All are keen to see pupils back if possible, with some planning to bring back Year 10 and 12 students in bubbles, whilst others would bring back those pupils in smaller numbers, all maintaining social distancing and bearing in mind their interactions outside school.
“However, some schools will find that their individual circumstances make this impractical. Whilst many serve their local communities, others teach pupils who travel from far afield. Some boarding schools will find that it is not practical to reopen before September given the continuing uncertainties surrounding international pupils and the added complications of housing as well as teaching young people.
“HMC members are taking a variety of approaches within the guidelines to best serve the children, parents and staff in their schools and give pupils some socialisation and face to face time with teachers where possible.
“Our teachers have worked exceptionally hard to deliver excellent remote teaching, and polarised public rows certainly are not helping them or the pupils in their care.“