EDUCATION chiefs have refused to recognise three-tier teaching systems in their ‘back to school’ plans after concerns were raised by the Redditch MP.

This follows the Government's announcement that Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children should return to school following the May-half term amid the coronavirus crisis.

In a letter to the Department for Education, the Redditch MP Rachel Maclean highlighted the "unique circumstances of Redditch's three-tier system" and asked the department to review to decision and allow Year 4 children and Year 8 children to return to school next month.

She said in her letter: “For most of the country, children remain at primary school until Year 6. However, most children in Redditch leave first school in Year 4 and continue their primary education, in Years 5 and 6, at middle school.

“A number of parents in Redditch have written to me about their concerns that their children will not be prepared for the transition from Year 4 to 5 and again for the transition from Year 8 to Year 9 as under the current guidance they will not be returning to school from June 1st.

“In normal times this period in children’s lives can be stressful and unfortunately this unprecedented crisis will compound their worries if they feel unprepared for their transition to a new school."

A DfE spokesperson confirmed to the Advertiser there would be no wiggle room, adding: “We expect all mainstream schools and colleges, including independent schools, to follow the same approach.

“We encourage middle schools to do the same and welcome back children in Year 6 to ensure national parity for children in this year group.

“We want children back in schools as soon as possible because being back with their teachers and friends is so important for their education and their wellbeing.

“Plans for a phased return of some year groups from June 1, at the earliest, are based on the best scientific and medical advice. The welfare of children and staff has been at the heart of all decision making.

“We have engaged closely with the unions throughout the past seven weeks and will continue to do so, including to develop further guidance for the sector.”

Sarah Wilkins, director for education and early help at Worcestershire Children First said: “Our priority is to make sure that schools and nurseries are safe places for children and for staff.

“Here in Worcestershire there are parts of the county where pupils will be preparing for a transition from first school to middle school or from a middle school to a high school. We recognise the importance of these transitional stages our children and young people in Worcestershire.

“We are talking to the Department for Education and with head teachers to develop plans that are in the best interests of children and young people and are realistic and manageable through the phases of change that the Government is proposing.”