A YORK MP is backing a call from teaching unions for the Government to publish the evidence on which it has based its decision for schools to re-open from June 1.

York Central MP Rachael Maskell also supports the unions’ call to see the evidence for why the Government has chosen younger age groups for the first to return.

The Government has planned a phased reopening of primary schools in England.

Children in nursery and pre-school, Reception and Years 1 and 6 at primary school will return to classes after half-term on June 1.

At secondary school and colleges, Years 10 and 12 will return first.

However, teaching unions have said the date is too soon to be safe.

Ms Maskell said: “Teachers and support staff have worked so hard over the last two months in reaching out to families not in school while supporting children who have come into school.

“We cannot let this work unravel, and therefore I support the teaching unions’ call for Government to publish the evidence on which they have based their decision for schools to re-open by June 1, and why they have selected the age groups they have.

"I have further asked Parliamentary questions about this, to ensure that the environment is safe for children and staff.”

She added: “Children in early years are like magnets, and it is impossible to keep them apart, so I question why this age group has particularly been targeted for an early return.”

Ms Maskell said she has been receiving a lot of queries from parents who are concerned, and grandparents who are often involved in providing informal childcare around the school day, but are currently isolating, as it would be unsafe for them to then be with their grandchildren for risk that they could be infected as a result, the MP said.

“There are many questions that need addressing before a safe return can be achieved,” she said.

“I will work with families and teachers to ensure we get this right, and look forward to a meeting with the teaching unions later this week.

Meanwhile, chief executive of York-based Ebor Academy Trust, Gail Brown, says the York Schools and Academies Board, which represents all schools in York, has been meeting three times a week to share ideas about how to manage education across the city during the pandemic.

“We have been supported by public health and social care experts and continue to talk with unions,” she said.

“As school leaders we all acknowledge the importance and seriousness of the decision to reopen schools and it is important to emphasise that we have the safety of pupils and staff as our priority. At all times we will be guided by Government advice and our key, overriding focus will be to ensure that schools are safe places for both staff and pupils.

“I am aware some parents, especially of younger children, have contacted Ebor schools to say that at the moment they do not have the confidence to want their children to return to school on June 1. We respect and understand fully those concerns and will work with all our families and communities when we have further guidance.”