ONE Bradford primary school confirmed it reopened to more children yesterday, with a dozen more expected to follow suit.

This is despite the council outlining it would not force any schools to follow the Government's scheduled date for extending entry.

Phase Two of the Government's lockdown exit plan outlined that primary schools should open in a limited way to more students from Monday, June 1.

Councillor Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, issued a statement just under two weeks ago to deal with this matter.

It said that Bradford Council had no intention of directing schools to open on June 1.

Cllr Khan also provided an update for the T&A last week.

He said: “We continue to work with schools, trade unions and parents to prepare schools to welcome back children into school.

“For the overwhelming majority of schools in our district, the government’s June 1 target date for reopening to more pupils will come too soon.

"Most schools are aiming to open the week commencing June 8, with some likely to require until the week after that."

But, Riddlesden St. Mary's C of E Primary School, in Grange Road, decided to open to more children yesterday.

Headteacher, Linda Wright, at Riddlesden St. Mary’s C of E Primary School, said yesterday: “Riddlesden St. Mary’s C of E Primary re-opened today and welcomed reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils, in small groups.

"Social distancing guidelines are being followed, and the school has carried out all the relevant risk assessments before this phased re-opening.

"We have looked at all the guidelines and used them to help guide our path.

"The school has been open to the children of key workers and vulnerable children since March 20, and that has helped us to gain an understanding of social distancing.

"A lot of children have been quite anxious during these unprecedented times, but it is the school’s responsibility to help alleviate some of that anxiety.

"We are very fortunate that our grounds are vast - today, pupils have been in the garden and the wooded areas, observing social distancing.

"The well being of our children and their families is paramount.

"I think I speak on behalf of all headteachers in the Bradford district when I say that the safety of our pupils comes first."

Twelve other schools were listed on Bradford Council's website yesterday as beginning "phased reopening".

A council spokesperson said none of those had opened for more children on Monday.

But they added: "Currently, about a dozen schools plan to open to more children at some point this week but this is constantly being reviewed.

"Individual schools will decide which groups will come in, when and for which parts of the day and will be communicating with parents directly."

The T&A asked the council for a list of those schools considering reopening to more pupils this week, but could not provide this due to the "rapidly changing situation".

A headteacher at one of the schools on the "phased reopening" list in the morning, had to clarify that the school would not be extending entry until two weeks' time.

Sara Rawnsley of Newby Primary School, in West Bowling, said: "Newby Primary School will reopen to reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils on June 15.

"The school has done a full risk assessment in line with unions and the Government guidelines.

"Newby primary school has also kept in regular contact with parents, and will be surveying parents again at the end of next week.

"We are inviting pupils back in groups of six, for reception, and groups of 10 for year 1 and year 6.

"We are keeping in touch with parents, and we are also continuing to provide home learning.

"We don’t want to abandon anybody, we’re trying to be very careful as we know that everyone has a different situation.

"The safety of our pupils and staff is of the greatest concern.

"We are preparing the site for the phased reopening and are keeping our website and social media profiles updated regularly."

Newby Primary School returned to the list of schools open for childcare for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers on the council's website by the afternoon.

Poplars Farm Primary School, in Swain House and Low Moor Church of England (CofE) Primary School, in Park House Road, also switched to the above description from the "phased reopening" list, later in the day.

Meanwhile, Merlin Top Primary Academy, in Keighley, Co-op Academy Princeville, in Willowfield Street, Ryecroft Primary Academy, in Holme Wood and Southmere Primary Academy, in Great Horton, were all changed to "phased reopening" in the afternoon.

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Cllr Khan said: "All schools are different and there is no one size fits all solution to getting schools ready for children to come back to learning.

"Schools are having to make major changes so they can safely have more children on their sites whilst maintaining social distancing and other key health and safety issues.

"We have always been clear that each school’s health and safety risk assessment should drive its decision-making.

"The support and guidance we are providing to schools puts safety at the forefront.

"That is why we have maintained all along that we will not force schools to open to more pupils until they feel they can do it safely and practicably.

"We recognise the importance of children going back to school but head teachers need to be assured that it is safe for their children and staff to do so.

"Schools will be contacting parents and carers with details of their arrangements.

"The safety of both pupils and teaching staff is everyone’s top priority."