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Around 800 children return as free school meal vouchers extended

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Around 800 students were welcomed back to their schools in the Isle of Man on Tuesday as a phased return for children and young people ramped up.

It started on Monday when teachers and school staff were allowed back to the classrooms for the first time since all schools were closed on 5 March.

In total, 448 pupils returned to their primary school on Tuesday with vulnerable children and those of essential workers the first to return. Meanwhile, 347 students attended their secondary school where exam year students have been prioritised to give them time to complete the work required to determine their summer grades.

Under current proposals all children and young people could return to their classes from Monday 19 April but this will depend on the latest data and advice from Public Health. Until this time remote learning will continue to be provided to children unable to attend.

Parents and carers of children who normally get free school meals will receive a Free School Meal Voucher to spend on essential groceries. This will be valued at £11.75 for a primary age child and £14.45 for secondary and can be redeemed at all Shoprite stores.

Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture said:

‘I am delighted to see children and teachers back in school buildings and at University College Isle of Man.

‘I would like to thank all pupils and their parents for their patience and express my gratitude to teachers and school staff who have been working so hard to support our children and young people in these challenging times. Until all children can return eligible parents will again receive help through our Free School Meal Voucher scheme.’

Childminders, nurseries and playgroups are in a similar position and Government is working with providers to ensure their reopening is aligned with schools.