Government write to Greenwich schools ordering them to open

Letters have been sent from the education secretary and others in government ordering Greenwich schools to open after council leader Danny Thorpe requested they close.

A letter sent late this afternoon from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson states legal action at the High Court or county court is an option. In a response Greenwich Council  state:

“This evening we received a legal direction from the Government to withdraw our request to schools. We are in the process of seeking legal advice and will respond to the Government in the morning.  

“We have alerted schools, and will speak to them tomorrow. But given we received this notification just before 5pm, it was impossible to ask schools to change any of the arrangements they have in place for Tuesday.” 

The order to open comes despite government moving London to tier 3 from Wednesday as cases sharply increase. Other nations such as Germany and the Netherlands are closing schools. Figures out tonight in Greenwich borough show a steep increase in new cases, with the weekly growth rate now at 49.8 per cent.

Data released this evening

Hospitalisations across London have increased with a weekly growth rate now at 41.5 per cent.

A letter sent to schools earlier today from Minister Nick Gibb states advice means “we are not in a position” to close schools.

Other European nations are ordering lockdowns with the Netherlands being the latest today. They are closing schools and non-essential retail until 19 January.

Germany announced similar closures yesterday which sees schools close and most shops shut.

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    9 thoughts on “Government write to Greenwich schools ordering them to open

    • Well-deserved ‘egg on face’ for Councillor Thorpe. “We are in the process of seeking legal advice”. Surely they took legal advice before tweeting their decision on Sunday?

    • Tory government want to maximise the cull due to their herd immunity plans. Greenwich threw a spanner into their plans, hence the pompous bloviating from the minister. Hopefully Greenwich will stand firm.

      • It didn’t stand firm. Greenwich melted after a page and a half of feeble ministerial bloviation from Whitehall, and now intend to reopen schools, claiming the council could not justify legal costs of defending the saving of lives.

    • Wow the government really want the children in the schools spreading stuff. They’re learning online for three days, what’s the big deal? Right or wrong, well done Greenwich council for thinking for themselves. The government have been useless for the last year.

      • I don’t often agree with Danny Thorpe but this time he deserves a pat on the back for at least trying to do something sensible. As we know, schools are breeding grounds for all sort of diseases at the best of times – so a good way to guarantee the spread of COVID is to continue to keep schools open. It’s lunacy; I know more than one person who has contracted COVID as a direct result of this insanity.

    • So we don’t have money for hospitality stimulus but we can afford to sue schools? Sounds about right.

      It’s three days before Christmas, nothing will be happening in schools and I’d personally trade three days of remote learning to avoid my kid being in isolation over Christmas. Same with the teachers. Along with medical staff, teachers are in desperate need of a break with their loved ones. If three days of remote learning can help, that’s a good deal.

    • Pretty diversionary from Whitehall who are inept. That said there is a huge amount of NHS staff off every time schools close so it must be a balance.

    • When you look at the dramatic increase in COVID-19 numbers in Greenwich, and the fact that schools years 7-11 in secondary schools are showing the largest percentage increase in positive cases according to Newsnight last night, then one has to wonder whether the government has a clue.

    • Parents will simply vote with their feet and will keep children out of schools, so that they don’t face potentially having to isolate at Christmas. This is simply common sense.


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