A SCHOOLS chief has advised headteachers not to open to more pupils next week.

Brighton and Hove City Council education chief Councillor John Allcock told schools and nurseries it was not yet safe enough to reopen to Reception, Year 1, and Year 6 pupils.

The majority of schools run by East Sussex County Council and West Sussex County Council reopened to these year groups on Monday, in line with Government guidance.

But Cllr Allcock said “considered advice” from the city council’s public health team prompted him to make the decision.

“We truly understand the need for children and young people to have a face-to-face education and be able learn with friends,” he said.

“We are working towards this but, based on considered advice received today from public health, this is not yet the time.

The Argus: Brighton and Hove City Council schools chief Councillor John AllcockBrighton and Hove City Council schools chief Councillor John Allcock

“The council’s position has always been that the safety and welfare of our children, school staff and wider community has to be our paramount consideration.”

A city council spokesman said it did not yet have enough confidence the Government’s testing and tracing programme could deal with another outbreak in the city.

“The Test and Trace programme is still in its early days,” the spokesman said.

“It is not yet providing sufficient data in Brighton and Hove to show the city can rely on the programme to respond to any potential local increases in cases and outbreaks.

“We know local cases are being reported and identified to the programme and we are likely to see numbers of cases rise in the weeks ahead as a result.

“More time is needed to understand the local implications.”

The Argus: Windlesham School in Dyke Road was the only school in the city to reopen to more pupils this weekWindlesham School in Dyke Road was the only school in the city to reopen to more pupils this week

The decision to reopen schools lies with individual headteachers.

Only Windlesham School in Dyke Road defied city council advice and reopened to Reception, Year 1, and Year 6 this week.

But many schools have remained open during the pandemic to teach the children of key workers.

“We know many families and children are facing challenges with the continued need to juggle work, family, home learning and other commitments while children are not in school, early years learning or childcare,” Cllr Allcock said.

“We also appreciate many families may have concerns about the return to school.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set u p to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund