Princess Charlotte: UK children head back to school but palace refuse to comment


BUCKINGHAM Palace refused to comment last night on whether Princess Charlotte would be returning to school tomorrow.

Princess Charlotte

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are said to be keen on keeping their lockdown routine in place despite government guidance allowing certain primary school years, including five-year-old Charlotte’s reception class, to begin again.


But Prince George, aged six, is in year 2 which is not scheduled to resume classes.

The royal siblings, the eldest of three children, attend Thomas’s prep school in Battersea , London, just a short drive from the Cambridge’s usual residence, Kensington Palace.

However William and Kate have been spending three months of lockdown in their country home in Norfolk, while the provided online classes,  and aren’t keen to separate their children.

Kate has recently admitted the challenges of homeschooling and parenting, saying: “The children have got such stamina. You pitch a tent, take the tent down again, cook, bake. You get to the end of the day – they’ve had a lovely time, but it’s amazing how much you can cram into a day, that’s for sure.”

More recently she told This Morning that George “gets very upset because he just wants to do all of Charlotte’s projects. Spider sandwiches are far cooler than literacy work.”

A spokesman for the couple last night refused to comment on their plans, adding “Schooling is a private affair.”

William and Kate have been spending three months of lockdown in their country home in Norfolk

William and Kate have been spending three months of lockdown in their country home in Norfolk (Image: Getty)


Children across England can expect supermarket-style queues outside the school gates and divided playground areas when they return to the classroom this week.

Pupils in reception, year one and year six will go to school this week as the pandemic lockdown is scaled back.

Children will be kept in “bubbles” of 15 to limit the risk of transmission of Covid-19 once they pass through the school gates.

They can expect classroom windows to remain open so clean air moves through the building, they may see extra cleaners employed, and water fountains may be removed to stop the spread of the virus.

The return to school is fiercely controversial, with the powerful 450,000-member NEU teaching union calling on the Government to “step back from the brink” and stop Monday’s planned opening up of schools. It fears the move will increase the “r-rate” – the measurement which gauges how the virus is spreading in Britain – and the level of risk to staff and to parents.

Schools will adhere to specific social distancing guidelines

Schools will adhere to specific social distancing guidelines (Image: Getty)


However, nine out of ten members of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) plan to open up their schools.

The NAHT’s poll suggest that three out of four will not follow the Government’s guidelines on which year groups should come back. Some schools will operate a rota and bring in children on different days.

The Department for Education has looked at what has happened in European countries where schools have reopened and expects pupil numbers to gradually increase as confidence grows among parents. There are no plans to levy penalties on parents who do not send their children to class.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The Prime Minister has announced that the Government’s five tests have been met, and based on all the evidence we will now move forward with our plan for a phased and cautious return of a limited number of pupils to primary schools and early years settings from Monday, and students in years 10 and 12 two weeks later.”

Former Labour Education Secretary Alan Johnson said teaching unions had “got it wrong” by opposing the reopening and dancing a “war dance”.

Sir Bernard Ingham, who served as Margaret Thatcher’s chief press secretary, was in no doubt how the “Iron Lady” would have ensured teachers taught pupils.

He said: “The plain fact is that, assuming that the Government is right, I think she would have told them off and told them what their job is. The point is that nobody is safe today, you can all catch it.

“All you can do is try to open up the economy and try to help youngsters in more ways than one. It’s not simply looking after their health.

“It’s also looking after their future because the longer this goes on the more they are going to have to pay. Teachers’ unions are just self-serving idiots.”

Former Labour Education Secretary Alan Johnson

Former Labour Education Secretary Alan Johnson said teaching unions had ‘got it wrong’ by opposing the reopening (Image: Getty)


Turning his guns on unions, he said: “The real issue here is: What kind of trade union movement do we want? Do we want one that is totally obstructive or do we want one that wants to maximise opportunities for ordinary people?

“They are the worst enemies I could imagine of the working class.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “It has to be remembered that the majority of schools are already open and that teachers are working to support the children they teach either from the classroom or from home. The NEU has never said schools can only return when its 100% safe, that could  never be the case.

“What we have said is to go back when the scientific evidence says it is reasonably safe to do so. The NEU is clearly not alone in our concerns.

“This weekend four senior Government  scientists have also said it is too early to lift the lockdown… We have not been obstructive – we have set five sensible, reasonable tests for school opening that have been endorsed by the British Medical association. We have asked the Government to engage with us so that those tests can be met and schools move safely to wider opening.”