High demand for primary places across Devon

primary school aged child writing on a white board

Posted on: 11 June 2020

More than twice as many primary children are attending school in Devon as nationally.

New figures produced by Devon County Council show that 22.6 per cent of all primary-aged children are in school compared to 11 per cent nationally.

The figures have been hailed as a tribute to the hard work and organisational skills of school staff.

Schools across Devon have been open throughout the pandemic to cater for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

But on June 1, schools started offering classes for all children in Reception, Year 1 or Year 6 as well.

On that first day a total of 5,766 primary-aged children were in school. That number had grown to 13,375 on June 9. Of these, 7,767 were in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 and 5,608 were key worker and vulnerable children.

The figures show that 44 per cent of those offered a place in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 have taken it up so far. And numbers continue to increase.

Photo of Councillor James McInnesDevon County Council’s deputy leader and Cabinet member for schools, James McInnes, said: “This is a tribute to the work that our county council education chiefs have done with headteachers.

“We have been working as one with local authority headteachers and academy headteachers. Every school has done its own Covid 19 assessment and heads, teachers and teaching assistants have worked incredibly hard to put safety measures in place.

“That has reassured parents that our paramount concern is for the safety of their children – aong with our school staff of course – and it has given them the confidence to send them back.

“I understand parents are very concerned about Covid 19 and some parents are choosing not to send their children back to school just yet. But this is the start of a slow process and I believe these statistics show that confidence is growing.

“You must also look at this in the context of Devon which has had one of the lowest incidences of Covid 19 in the country. Devon County Council is also one of 11 Beacon councils which are setting up local track and trace systems which will be tailored to every local area.

“But many of our schools simply don’t have the room to accommodate many more pupils with the social distancing rules we currently have. The Government has given headteachers the freedom to do more if they have the room and the staff available and I welcome that.

“But it is now vitally important that we all work together to achieve more clarity for parents and families on exactly what we will be able to offer them in the new academic year.”

Next week, secondary schools will begin to offer Year 10 and Year 12 students the opportunity of face to face time with their teachers. Secondary schools have also been offering provision for key worker and vulnerable children throughout the pandemic and the county council’s figures show that three per cent have taken up the offer compared with one per cent nationally.

Posted in: DCC Homepage | Education