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Cheshire East Council says it is helping schools and colleges to put arrangements in place for the return of pupils to school in the New Year.

It follows latest Government guidance issued yesterday, which will see many students not back in the classroom until January 18.

The changes mainly impact secondary schools and colleges, with the start of the new term delayed for most secondary school age pupils.

This is to allow extra time for schools to prepare for testing as many pupils and staff as possible.

Pupils in ‘exam years’, years 11 and 13, will now return week beginning January 11.

All other secondary and college pupils will return to school on January 18.

Schools will be open to vulnerable children and children of key workers from week beginning January 4.

Remote learning arrangements will be put in place for pupils in exam years from week beginning January 4.

Primary schools will return as planned from January 4.

School such as Brine Leas in Nantwich have already contacted parents with updated plans on how different year groups will be taught or supervised online prior to a return to classes.

Cllr Kathryn Flavell, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Ensuring the safety of our children and young people is our top priority.

“These changes have been put in place because the infection rate is particularly high in secondary age children.

“Our education and public health teams are working with schools and colleges to prepare for mass testing of pupils and staff and to provide remote learning where required.

“I would like to recognise the dedication of our school staff and education team in adapting to the many changes in guidance and advice throughout the pandemic.

“As the virus and the pandemic changes over time, we must also change our approach to keep our children and school staff safe.

“This has taken an enormous amount of effort.

“I’d also like to thank parents and pupils for supporting their schools by complying with guidance and adapting to the changes implemented to control the virus.

“We must all continue to follow the guidance and maintain the basics – hands, face, space.”

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