COUNCIL chiefs in Trafford have labelled the reopening of schools on June 1 as “premature”.

The authority is advising schools should not reopen any earlier than June 10, but acknowledged it is up to governing bodies to make the final decision.

Council leader Cllr Andrew Western said: “The council has...taken some time over the last 10 days to consider the Government’s announcement and the implications as we see them for Trafford.

“Of course the vast majority of our schools have not been closed but the government guidance amounts to a significant broadening of those eligible to attend far beyond the current criteria of vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

“We recognise ultimately it is for individual schools to determine how they wish to move forward and indeed for individual parents to decide whether to send their children back to school.”

But the council has issued guidance to heads saying it believes the decision to ask all schools to return on June 1 is “premature”.

Cllr Western added: “The nationally applicable government guidance fails to take into account regional variances in terms of where local areas are at in the fight against coronavirus.

"The North West has generally tracked around 10 days behind London and other parts of the country. There is a particular challenge with early years children for whom social distancing will be difficult in practice.

“The position must remain flexible and be guided by the science, including against the five tests set down the trade unions. As such we reserve the right to amend our guidance in line with the shifting circumstances we are facing and progress against these and the Government’s own tests.”

The council has written to parents and schools advising that primary schools should not open to nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils until at least June 10 – and only then open if their risk assessment determines it is safe to do so.