Parents are livid as their children were forced to eat dinner outside in the rain ‘like animals’.
Some pupils returned to school yesterday, and those starting in year 7 at Unsworth Academy in Bury were told to eat outside as part of new safety measures.
Families found out that their children were forced to sit outside in heavy rain and wind on Wednesday and were left soaked.
Many children struggled to actually eat their food as they battled the wind to hold umbrellas up.
The families explained they had not been made aware that their child’s dinnertime would be spent outside.
They added that the school risk assessment which was provided by the school had originally suggested the large spaces such as halls and dining halls to be used during wet breaks and dinner.
According to the MEN, many parents have reported directly to the school and Ofsted as well as complaining on social media.
One parent said the school is ‘treating these kids like animals’, another added: “I wouldn’t let my dog stand outside in rain, let alone make him eat lunch like this.”
Mum Louise, whose two children were back on Wednesday, the youngest starting her first day in Year 7, said: “They actually didn’t eat their dinner at all until they got home as it was all getting wet so her memory of her first day at high school was cold, wet and hungry. Other children were taking shelter under a tree or table tennis tables.
“We were not told that lunches would be eaten outside. We were only told that due to distancing, breaks will be outside regardless of the weather. The lady in the office advised me that that’s the only way it can be done and suggested they bring an umbrella to continue to eat outside.”
Dad James, from Radcliffe, also described his upset with the schools set up, saying: “Personally I am livid that a school finds it acceptable to put students outside to eat their lunch in all weathers. I’m not sure how they’re expected to juggle their lunchbox, their actual lunch and an umbrella while fighting the elements trying to keep their sandwich dry. I believe the conditions are better at Her Majesty’s Prisons.”
The school sent a reminder to parents last night that children should have their waterproofs with them.
It said: “As I know you will appreciate, it is going to be difficult to ensure social distancing if all our learners have to remain in school during wet breaks and lunchtimes. To minimise the challenges these wet breaks create, we would like all learners to ensure that, if wet weather is forecast, they bring a waterproof coat and an umbrella to school.
“Many learners had their coats and umbrellas with them today; others did not and did unfortunately get wet at lunchtime. The vast majority of learners are unfazed by wet breaks; today a small minority were not happy that they had no coat or umbrella.
“However, at the same time they do now understand why they need to bring them with them to school, not just for breaks and lunchtimes, but also for the journeys to and from school.”
However, parents received another letter from principal Sue Armstrong with an update today: “Yesterday, the last-minute rainfall during the lunchtime break posed a new challenge for us.
“Unfortunately, with this being the first day learners were in school, contingency plans for wet weather were not as effectively implemented as we would have wanted, resulting in a small minority of students getting wet.
“This has understandably caused concern for those families involved and I would like to reassure you that arrangements have been reviewed to ensure students have access to adequate shelter at all times.”
Fred Perry is opening a huge new flagship store in Afflecks
Who’s excited for this?
In some good news for our city centre, Fred Perry has announced that it will be opening a huge new store in the Northern Quarter.
The new flagship store will be located at the bottom of the Afflecks building, and is welcome news following the recent closure of high street stalwarts like Debenhams and Topshop.
Fred Perry will be moving from its current location on Police Street to open the new, bigger flagship store on the corner of Oldham Street and Church Street.
The site will see the iconic British brand move into the 2,820 sq ft unit this summer, joining Manchester’s legendary Afflecks which is owned by Bruntwood Works.
Fred Perry was co-founded by the Stockport-born tennis champion of the same name back in the late 1940s, and has gained worldwide fame for its laurel wreath logo and polo shirts.
Richard Gilmore, managing director at Fred Perry, said: “We’re delighted to be moving to the Northern Quarter. The area has no shortage of strong associations to ground-breaking music and subcultural style – something we continue to champion.
“Our retail spaces aren’t just shops, and we’re looking forward to sharing what we do with the Manchester community as part of an exciting continuation of Fred Perry and Afflecks’ mutual commitment to heritage and innovation.
“We now have a space we can be truly proud of in Manchester.”
Chris Middleton, senior retail manager at Bruntwood Works, added: “Fred Perry is a true icon, and we’re delighted to be welcoming them to the ground floor of our famous Afflecks building.
“The addition of this much-loved brand will bolster the retail community in the Northern Quarter neighbourhood, building on Oldham Street’s offering as a lifestyle-led shopping destination.
“It feels particularly exciting to be announcing the news after what has been a challenging twelve months for retail, as we look forward to a bright future for Manchester city centre.”
The new Fred Perry store will open this summer, although an exact date has yet to be released.
People on working tax credits will get a £500 one-off payment, Rishi Sunak confirms
Make sure you know about this
Brits on tax credits get a one-off benefits payment of £500, Rishi Sunak reveals in budget.
Outlined in the budget, Sunak explained that a £20 weekly increase in universal credit will extend for a further six months.
The chancellor explains that by the way Working Tax Credits system works people will not be able to receive the extra £20 weekly.
Instead, people will benefit from a £500 one-off payment.
Mr Sunak said: “To support low-income households, the Universal Credit uplift of £20 a week will continue for a further six months, well beyond the end of this national lockdown
“We’ll provide Working Tax Credit claimants with equivalent support for the next six months.
“Because of the way that system works operationally, we’ll need to do so with a one-off payment of £500.”
The £500 tax credit boost will run in the same way that the Universal Credit is paid – automatically.
Lots of people have switched from the old ‘Tax Credit’ to the new ‘Universal Credit’ system. Anyone who hasn’t yet been transferred across will now be eligible for this new one-off payment.
The number of people claiming universal credit in the UK has doubled since the start of the pandemic, reaching 6 million people at the start of this year.
The extra benefit support is welcomed but many are raising concerns that six months is not long enough.
Sunak also revealed in today’s budget that furlough will be extended until September but employers will have to pay 10% of the employee’s wages in July and 20% in August and September.
You can see a round-up of all the key points from the budget here.
What Rishi Sunak’s new budget means for people in Greater Manchester
Everything you need to know
Rishi Sunak has said he wants to be honest about the government’s plans for fixing the public finances.
The chancellor says there has been ‘acute damage’ to the economy, with more than 700,000 people losing jobs and the economy shrinking by 10% – the largest fall in 300 years.
Borrowing has also been as high as during wartime.
He said: “It’s going to take this country, and the whole world, a long time to recover from this extraordinary situation.”
Here are the key points from his 2021 budget announcement….
- Sunak explains that 1.8 million fewer people are expected to be out of work than previously thought, with the peak at 6.5% down from the forecasted peak of 11.9%.
- Furlough is set to be extended until the end of September this year, however, firms will be asked to contribute 10% of employee’s wages in July and 20% in August and September as the scheme is gradually phased out.
- A fourth grant worth 80% of average trading profits up to £7,500 covering February to April that will help self-employed people.
- The £20 increase in universal credit will extend for six months
- Total cash support to businesses has reached £25bn. A further £5bn restart grant has now been confirmed to help companies get going after lockdown.
- Hospitality and leisure businesses will pay no business rates for three months, then discounted for the remaining nine months of the year by two-thirds.
- The 5% VAT cut will be extended to the end of September and gradually increased at 12.5% for six months before returning to the normal rate in April 2022.
- The stamp duty holiday will be extended on properties up to £500,000 to the end of June. It will return to normal levels from October 1st.
- Mortgage guarantees were also confirmed to help first-time buyers access 95% mortgages, with just 5% deposits.
- The government will take a ‘fair’ approach to ‘fixing the public finances’ the chancellor confirms.
- There will be no increase in national insurance, income tax or VAT.
- The personal allowance will remain at £12,750 until 2026 and the higher rate will increase to £50,270 next year.
- Inheritance tax threshold, pensions lifetime allowance, annual exempt allowance from capital gains tax and VAT exemption thresholds will all be frozen.
- New minimum wage rates come into force in England on April 1st. Basic rate workers will see a 2.2% increase, with the National Living Wage rising to £8.91 an hour.
- The budget deficit will reach £355billion this year (17% of GDP) – the highest level in peacetime.
- Sunak said: “It’s going to be the work of many governments over many decades to pay it back, just as it would be irresponsible to withdraw support too soon, it would also be irresponsible to allow our future borrowing and debt to rise unchecked.”
- The chancellor explains that the economy will recover more quickly than previously thought.
- GDP will grow by 4% this year and 7.3% next year according to official forecasts.