Western Morning News



A DEVON MP has called for a regional approach to reopening schools to be “kept on the table” as pressure grows to get all children back into the classroom.

Conservati­ve Simon Jupp (East Devon) suggested to the House of Commons the option of reopening schools “on a regional basis” should remain an option. He was speaking before Boris Johnson’s announceme­nt on a planned return to the classroom from March 8.

Mr Jupp, who won the East Devon seat last December following the retirement of his predecesso­r, Sir Hugo Swire, said: “Getting our children safely back into school is clearly a priority for this Government and it is right that reopening next month remains under review.

“I am sure many parents in East Devon will be concerned by significan­t delays, as we all know that although schools across Devon are going above and beyond to provide virtual learning, nothing beats the classroom.

And he asked Education Minister Nick Gibb to confirm that he would not rule out a regional approach.

He said: “Could (Mr Gibb) confirm the Government will keep all options on the table for reopening schools, including reopening on a regional basis if the scientific evidence supports a phased return based on vaccinatio­ns and case rates in different parts of the country?”

Mr Gibb replied: “So we do want to see schools open as soon as possible, as we’ve always said during this pandemic that schools should be the last to close and the first to open.

“We do consult with stakeholde­rs and advisory groups about the options for reopening and we keep all those issues under review.”

Mr Jupp was speaking in a debate at which it was suggested schools should be reopened after the February half-term break.

 ??  ?? > Simon Jupp, Conservati­ve MP
> Simon Jupp, Conservati­ve MP

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