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Norfolk academy trust reveals Saturday lessons and August return date for year 10 pupils

PUBLISHED: 14:04 28 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:36 29 June 2020

Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, who is leading calls for children to return to school early from their summer holidays  Picture: Andi Sapey/Inspiration Trust

Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, who is leading calls for children to return to school early from their summer holidays Picture: Andi Sapey/Inspiration Trust

Andi Sapey

Year 10 students at nine secondary schools across Norfolk and Waveney have started Saturday catch-up classes and will be returning early from their summer holidays, to make up for lessons lost during lockdown.

Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust of academies, said the pupils would start their autumn term in mid-August instead of September 2.

It came as a coalition of parents and teachers announced a five-point plan to get children back to school.

Parents and Teachers for Education (PTE) a think tank founded by Dame Rachel, said attendance should be compulsory unless pupils have a health risk, sports should be resumed, Saturday lessons brought in for exam students to catch up, along with a longer school day and overtime payments for teachers working extra hours.

Year 10 pupils started Saturday catch-up classes at Cromer Academy, Thetford Academy, Hethersett Academy, East Point Academy in Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, Wayland Academy in Watton and the Hewett Academy, Jane Austen College and Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich yesterday. They will be returning to school full time on August 17.

Dame Rachel told a Sunday newspaper children risk becoming “part of a social catastrophe unfolding before our eyes” unless they can resume their lessons.

She said schools provided vital structure in young people’s lives, without which their futures would be damaged “irreparably”.

It came as the former head of schools watchdog Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday more than two million children are getting less than one hour’s work a day and do not have adequate online programmes for learning.

He said: “The consequences for youngsters, particularly those from poor backgrounds, the consequences for our society and for our education system is going to be profound, and we need to recognise that.

“Everyone involved in education needs to recognise that and put in large-scale recovery and remedial programmes to make sure that the great gains that we’ve made over the last few years are not lost.

“If that doesn’t happen then we will go backwards. And there will be all sorts of problems in terms of social unrest, violence amongst young people that we’ve not seen before.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said all children should return to school in September. But union Unison said a survey of 9,000 school support staff revealed 80pc did not know what safeguards would be in place to protect them.

Jon Richards, its head of education, said: “Instead of detailed plans to help schools prepare for the autumn term, all we have seen so far is headline-catching announcements, which put all the pressure and blame on schools, staff and their unions.

Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, one of the Inspiration Trust's secondary schools. Picture; David HannantGreat Yarmouth Charter Academy, one of the Inspiration Trust's secondary schools. Picture; David Hannant

“We call on the government to work with us urgently to plan for the return of as many pupils as possible from the start of the autumn term, while ensuring that children, young people and school staff are safe to do so.”


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