Parents will not face fines if they choose to keep their child away from primary school for the time being, the City of Wolverhampton Council has confirmed.

With Covid-19 infection rates rising rapidly in Wolverhampton – the number of new cases has more than doubled over the last fortnight – many primary schools in the city have chosen to reopen only to vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers at this stage. All other children will be provided with remote learning.

A number of primary schools are open as normal, and where parents have concerns about their child going to school because of Covid-19, they are asked to discuss these with the school in the first instance. If, however, they decide to keep their child off school, they will not face a fine for unauthorised attendance at this time.

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “We have written to the Secretary of State twice raising our concerns about the safe opening of schools at this time. The Secretary of State did not share our concerns.

“We have written to local schools about the rapidly changing picture with regard to the pandemic, and governing bodies and headteachers are deciding whether to fully open or open only to vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers at this time, taking into account the best interests of their children and the safety of local residents. 

“Latest figures show 1,838 people tested positive for the virus in Wolverhampton in the seven days to 1 January, though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.

"Against this background, we fully appreciated that some parents will have concerns about sending their children to school. That's why, as a council, we have taken the decision not to issue fines to families who keep children at home at the present time. We would, however, ask them to do all they can to ensure their child continues their learning journey at home.

"We believe school is the best place for children and will continue to work closely with our city's schools so that they can provide face-to-face learning to all pupils as soon as it is possible for them to do so."

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Further details of the Tier 4 restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at Covid Alert.