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Demand for school spaces causes concern during lockdown #3

New government lockdown guidelines are resulting in Schools being inundated with requests from parents seeking spaces for their children. 

Changes to guidelines from the first national lockdown are resulting in schools seeing higher numbers of pupils attending settings than in the summer term, teaching unions and the children's commissioner for England have warned.

Unlike the first national lockdown in the spring, children from two parent households where one parent is a critical worker are also permitted to attend school, new guidelines state. The guidelines also indicate that children who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home, for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study, can attend school as a vulnerable child.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at The Association of College and School Leaders (ACSL), said: “We are certainly receiving some quite worried messages from members around the country, who are finding that if they look at the eligibility criteria for school places, in some cases they might have 50, 60 or even 70 per cent of their pupils who fulfil the criteria.

“They don’t know what ‘full’ means. If the whole point is to reduce community transmission, if we are ending up with half of children coming into school, it seems unlikely that will be achieved.”