PARENTS at Goostrey Primary School have penned an open letter to Cheshire East Council's leader, urging a return for year six pupils on June 15.

The letter, signed on behalf of the parents of year six pupils at the school, tells Cllr Sam Corcoran 'how disappointed' they are that their youngsters would only return to school on June 29.

It comes after CEC confirmed schools in the borough would follow a phased approach to returning to the classroom in the pandemic, with year six the final class to return.

In the letter, the parents insist they were happy with plans put forward by the school for social distancing, and their children were keen to return much sooner.

The letter said: "At our school, almost every pupil in year six had confirmed that they were intending to return when the date was announced by the Prime Minister as Monday, June 1.

"We had seen the plans proposed by [headteacher] Miss [Lyndsey] Atkins and her team to keep the children safe, and we were satisfied with the risk assessment.

"We felt fortunate that our children attend a school with a split site, and we were reassured that the year six children would have the entire junior school to themselves.

"We feel strongly that our individual setting should be allowed to make its own decision with the full support of the parent community and a class full of children who want to return to school."

The parents added that the additional two weeks would 'make a huge difference to their final experience' at Goostrey Primary.

Cllr Kathryn Flavell, cabinet member for children and families, accepts there will be 'a mixed response' to CEC's policy but insists the children of key workers and younger pupils need to be prioritised – although the policy will be kept 'under review'.

She added: "Overall our approach has been supported by schools and parents, with only a small number of concerns. The safety of children and school staff is paramount and must be our priority.

“We do understand the impact on year six pupils of a delayed return and want to support them as they move up to their secondary schools.

"We have to balance this with the constraints of school buildings and staffing capacity and have asked that schools should, as a minimum, offer sessions to allow pupils to say goodbye, celebrate their achievements and support them in planning for transition to year seven. We are also working with our secondary schools to explore innovative approaches to supporting children remotely with this.

“Many schools are experiencing an increase of key worker children which places additional pressure on the numbers from other year groups that can be accommodated. The government guidance states clearly that we must give priority to these children as well as asking primary schools to prioritise reception children ahead of other year groups.”