As England’s students approach the end of their school terms, Play England said it’s “really important to think about the summer.”
Under current government guidelines, organised parent and child groups, registered childcare, and supervised activities can only be attended by up to 30 people.
The rule has restricted the numbers of some organised activities, as well as making some activities not financially viable.
“At the moment, summer camps in their traditional form can’t happen,” Andy Robinson of industry body UK Outdoors told The Telegraph.
Robinson said that the government should “take a sensible approach” and recognise outdoor summer camps are well ventilated.
Anita Grant, the chair of Play England, told The Telegraph that it doesn’t make sense to only focus on the school term.
“It would be really great if the government would come out clearly and say children are allowed freedom over the summer. They are just ignoring it and concentrating on the school term,” she said.
“If children are kept restricted and controlled over summer, they will have no space to recover,” she added.
“Allowing children to play freely this summer will improve children’s well-being and help them feel less isolated.”
The latest official figures released on Tuesday show more than 375,000 pupils—about 1 in 20—were sent home last week, mostly for having been in contact with a school friend who tested positive for the CCP virus.
Schools have been organising pupils into different groups called “bubbles” and sending home bubbles of pupils for 10 days if one tests positive for the CCP virus. Sometimes whole classes or year groups have been told to stay at home.
John Jolly, chief executive of Parentkind, told NTD that it has been “very difficult” for parents.
“That causes all sorts of problems for parents who are both working,” Jolly said.
“It just creates a huge amount of pressure on parents who are trying to juggle schooling with working from home … and a great deal of uncertainty.”
Minister for School Standards Nick Gibb said on Tuesday that the government has been trialling daily testing instead of self-isolating for pupils who come in contact with positive cases.
Gibb said the trial was due to end on Wednesday and the government would look at the data.
Jolly said he thought parents would “welcome any changes” that mean more children can remain within the classroom in the next term.
Asked whether or not parents would be happy with daily testing, Jolly said opinions are split.
“About 70 percent of parents have told us that they’d rather children are back at school. No testing, no social distancing, no face masks, no nothing,” he told NTD.
“And 30 percent of parents [were] telling us precisely the opposite. They want everything,” he added.
Children’s Commissioner for England Dame Rachel de Souza has said that there is an urgent need for children to get back to normal as lockdown restrictions had been a “real trauma” for many young people.
NTD reporter Jane Werrell and PA contributed to this report.