JOHN R ARMSTRONG complains that the Government has “allowed state school teachers to refuse to work” (HAS, June 12).

Teachers have not refused to work - they never stopped working. Schools have remained open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children, and many teachers have been busy supporting parents who are educating their children at home, delivering learning materials, marking work and providing online lessons.

Teachers are absolutely right to oppose the wider opening of schools until it is safe to do so, particularly the daft idea of starting with the youngest children. Stephen Dixon (HAS, May 18) highlighted the difficulties of ensuring safe levels of physical distancing in nursery and reception classes, for children who are best taught through play-based learning and shared equipment. They may also need close contact with teachers, for example if they are hurt or upset, or need help with putting on coats and shoes.

Surely it would make more sense to start the phased re-opening of primary schools with the oldest pupils? Or why not start with secondary schools? There have been no plans to open secondary schools till September, other than some limited face-to-face contact with teachers for pupils preparing for GCSEs and A-levels.

I suspect the Government is treating schools as child-care facilities rather than educational establishments.

Older secondary pupils can generally look after themselves while parents return to work, while primary schoolchildren cannot.

And while parents may be able to supervise older primary children at the same time as working from home, the youngest will require almost constant attention, making working from home very difficult.

Pete Winstanley, Durham.