Isle of Wight political parties are reacting to calls for primary schools to stay shut on Monday.

Their comments follow statements from a number of teaching unions.

Primaries will open for all children on Monday, after a government statement, while secondaries will stagger their return, opening only for vunlerable children and those of key workers on January 4. 

Nick Stuart, head of the Liberal Democrats on the Isle of Wight said mass testing would likely lead to more teachers and pupils isolating, putting more pressure on already-stretched schools.

He called for Islanders who believed schools should stay closed to contact their MP and Councillors.

He said: "The teaching profession is desperate to teach, while keeping staff pupils, parents and the general public safe, so let's listen to their call for a 'circuit-break' to include all schools including primaries, and for secondary schools to run on a rota basis, which can keep cases lower, whilst keeping children learning.

"We know that mass testing will lead to lots of isolated teachers, pupils and families, so more Government support for online learning are essential.

"The rapid spread of the new Covid-19 variant is deeply worrying.

"It's time to take action."

For the Green Party on the Isle of Wight, teacher Vix Lowthion said: "There is no social distancing in our schools, no masks, no reduced class sizes, no testing and no vaccines for the vulnerable.

"The Green Party have been clear for many weeks that no lockdown will be effective without schools, nurseries and colleges being included.

"And now many months have been wasted, which could have been spent planning for distance learning through providing laptops and connectivity to the most disadvantaged families."

  • In secondaries, a single year group counts as a bubble and movement around schools has been minimised.
  • Older children wear masks in communal areas and corridors.
  • In primary schools individual classes are in a social bubble.

There has been concern that different year groups - and schools - mix on public transport on their way to class.