On 14th May 2020 a statement was given regarding the reopening and operation of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:
Lord Bishop of Durham: I am grateful to the Minister and the Secretary of State for meeting myself and the Church of England education team earlier in the week. The longer that children are learning from home, the wider the disadvantage gap that may well be developing. Does the Minister agree that the risks of not reopening schools in a managed and phased way are actually greater than the logistical challenges presented by reopening?
Baroness Berridge: I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for his assertion. We in the department are particularly aware of the risks for disadvantaged students and the attainment gap the longer that schools remain closed. I have to say that the teachers and the heads of trusts that I have spoken to are keen to reopen schools because they are particularly concerned about the learning loss for disadvantaged students and the challenges they face to re-engage them in school.