A BRADFORD MP has urged Bradford schools to remain closed until they are safe to avoid a "fatal mistake".

Imran Hussain MP for Bradford East also said it is "deeply concerning" that the government has overlooked the safety of Bradford's BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) and deprived communities with its school reopening schedule.

The MP is backing any headteacher in the Bradford district who chooses to keep their school shut.

The Government's lockdown exit plan outlined that primary schools should reopen in a limited way from Monday, June 1.

Schools were expected to continue supporting key worker and vulnerable children, as well as welcome back pupils in nursery, reception, year one and year six.

A handful of schools in Bradford chose to follow the guidelines, but the majority opted against that, instead reopening on Monday, June 8.

This was with the council's blessing and Councillor Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, added that some may even need an extra week to be ready.

Mr Hussain was amongst the first to support the calls to keep unsafe schools closed following the Prime Minister’s initial announcement .

He is now urging those headteachers who still deem it unsafe to open at this time, to continue taking a stand - particularly those which serve BAME and deprived communities.

Mr Hussain said: "I, of course, want all children to get back into education as soon as possible to prevent the widening of an already stark attainment gap, but without sufficient safeguards in place and without action to keep Bradford’s BAME and deprived communities safe, reopening schools could prove to be a fatal mistake for these communities."

His calls follow research from Public Health England (PHE) that found that the risk of dying among those diagnosed with Coronavirus is greater for those from BAME backgrounds, when compared to those from other ethnicities and in deprived areas is double that of the least deprived areas.

Mr Hussain said: “We know that those from BAME and deprived backgrounds face greater health inequalities than other groups, putting them at higher risk of Coronavirus, yet there still hasn’t been enough preparation by the Government to prepare schools for keeping families from these backgrounds safe.

"In a city as diverse and deprived as Bradford, this is vital, and it is deeply concerning that Ministers have overlooked it."

One schools that has already remained defiant in the face of pressure is Peel Park Primary, in Undercliffe.

Headteacher, Lloyd Mason-Edwards revealed the school will remain open for key worker and vulnerable children but will not widen its offering to more pupils for at least the next few weeks.

He explained this is because the reproduction rate (R-rate) is too high in Bradford still and many of Peel Park's pupils come from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic), multi-generational households.

Mr Mason-Edwards added: "We believe that the Government is not looking closely enough at other areas and individual towns or areas of the UK and just basing most of their decision's on London.

"This is not good enough for our school community and families."

Mr Hussain is backing any headteacher who takes the same stance and calling on the Government to do more.

He said: “The Government must set out a clear, viable and coherent plan that respects the particular vulnerabilities of BAME and deprived communities and protects teachers, pupils and parents.

"Until they put this plan into action, our schools must remain closed, and the headteachers who refuse to open until it is will continue to have my full backing."