Don’t stand at school gates chatting, minister tells parents

Sophia Sleigh
·2-min read
<p>Schools Minister Nick Gibb at Goldfinch School today in Streatham </p> (Jeremy Selwyn)

Schools Minister Nick Gibb at Goldfinch School today in Streatham

(Jeremy Selwyn)

A Government minister today urged parents to “go straight home” after school rather than stand at the gates talking.

In an interview with the Standard, Schools Minister Nick Gibb warned parents not to break social distancing rules during the school run as pupils head back to class.

It comes after Boris Johnson praised parents and teachers as millions of children returned to schools in England

Mr Gibb said: “Parents need to be very careful of socially distancing.

“Hands, face, space –that’s still the rule for parents collecting their children from school.

“And they should take their children home. The roadmap doesn’t permit mixing of households at this stage.

“So we are saying that they just need to go straight home after school and keep socially distancing at the school gate as well.”

Mr Gibb also said he “worries” about people not social distancing, adding: “If you want to be fair to other people – as well as to prevent you yourself from contracting the virus – it’s really important to stick to the rules as they are set out and we all need to socially distance.”

Many schools have organised staggered start and finish times to prevent too many people mixing.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb at Goldfinch School today in StreathamJeremy Selwyn
Schools Minister Nick Gibb at Goldfinch School today in StreathamJeremy Selwyn

Mr Gibb said it was “fine” for children in their bubble to take part in afterschool activities but added: “Every time we contravene the social distancing requirements it undermines our ability to defeat the virus and get the transmission rates down.

“If we want to continue along the roadmap as it is set out in the document then we just have to obey the rules that are set out.”

During the interview Mr Gibb also said “no child” should miss out on their studies, when asked about union claims that schools may have to close again if not enough pupils wear face masks.

The Association of School and College Leaders chief Geoff Barton suggested that non-compliance from students could create “ramifications” for school insurance policies.

However, Mr Gibb said: “No child should lose out on their education either individually or collectively.”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb at Goldfinch School today in StreathamJeremy Selwyn
Schools Minister Nick Gibb at Goldfinch School today in StreathamJeremy Selwyn

He added: “I don’t anticipate there being issues. The school I went to on Friday those students coming in to be tested…were all wearing masks.

“It didn’t seem to faze them at all it was just a routine thing.”

Yesterday the Prime Minister thanked parents for teaching their children at home during lockdown, adding: “We all know that the burden has disproportionately fallen on women - often holding down jobs and providing childcare at the same time.”

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