NUMEROUS primary schools have announced plans to hold a teacher training day on the first day the government has said they could reopen following lockdown, leaving some parents baffled.

While North Yorkshire County Council has backed plans to reopen primary schools for reception, year one and year six pupils from June 1, a number of neighbouring local education authorities, including Leeds, Bradford and Hartlepool, have stated they do not intend to follow suit due to safety fears.

However, it has emerged scores of schools across North Yorkshire intend to remain closed on the first day back in more than two months – a decision that has attracted criticism, with people questioning why teachers had been unable to complete one training day during lockdown.

Some parents have accused teachers of failing to recognise the pressures they have been under in trying to home school children while working.

One of the critics, Rod Bishop, said: “Some teachers saying they need more time to prepare for safely opening schools. Just how long does it take to shift a few desks around, remove some chairs and get some tape out? Good job they aren’t in charge of PPE supply and testing 100,000 people a day.”

Another critic, Roz Hubley, stated: “Call me thick, but I don’t understand why the teaching profession hasn’t sorted out their teaching strategies post lockdown – they’ve had two months to sort it out.”

Nigel Ashley, chief executive of Elevate Multi Academy Trust, which runs 11 schools across North Yorkshire, said its “return to education plan” included a training day on June 1 as its main priority has been to ensure the safety and well-being of children and staff. He said: “This will give us time to ensure all staff are given the opportunity to understand the new classroom structures and systems, receive detailed training on health and safety, safeguarding, social distancing and the implementation of the educational plan.”

In a letter to parents, Richard Chandler, of Thirsk Community Primary School, said safety would be given the highest priority and the school would make numerous changes when it reopened on June 1. He said classes would form ‘bubbles’, the school day would be staggered, and a strict one-way system would be in place.

A county council spokesman said it was up to schools to decide when and whether they could reopen safely and it was too early to know how many schools would use June 1 as a teacher training day.

The authority, whose education boss has recently expressed frustration over different levels of support being offered to pupils by schools during lockdown, said “training days would be something for schools to consider as they look at their assessment of when it might be possible to open”. It said it would be supportive of schools’ decisions.