SCHOOLS across Dorset are planning to open to more pupils on June 1 despite fears over safety.

All pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are expected to return to the classroom in less than two weeks.

But there are fears that the children - some as young as four-years-old - will not respect social distancing measures and will help coronavirus to spread further within the community.

Teaching unions and doctors have warned it is too early for schools to safely reopen.

And parents have been told they will not be fined if they choose to keep their children at home.

Some councils, including Liverpool City Council, have said they will not be following the government advice to open on June 1.

But work continues in schools across the BCP area to prepare to welcome more pupils.

Councillor Sandra Moore, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at BCP Council said: “All schools are already open in BCP for the children of key workers and vulnerable group pupils.

“As a council we have been encouraging vulnerable families to send their children to school as we believe that this supports families and promotes the children’s holistic wellbeing and learning.

“It’s important for the safety of both pupils and teaching staff to remain a top priority.

“As such, all BCP primary and secondary schools are risk assessing their sites in relation to the need for social distancing and are in contact with parents about the measures they will put in place for keeping staff and pupils safe as they open for the named year groups from June 1, if it is confirmed as safe to do so by the government for that date.”

She said some schools may need to offer a phased return but added: “We are not aware of any schools that will be refusing to open.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help at Dorset Council, said: “Schools in Dorset remain open for the children of key workers, those with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and vulnerable children, which includes children who have a social worker.

"We are working with schools across Dorset as they plan to welcome back children into Reception, Year 1 and year 6 classes. Secondary and upper schools are working on plans to hold some face to face sessions for Year 10 and 12 before the summer holiday.

"Schools are following guidance from the Department for Education and Dorset Council. They are working on plans to reduce the risk of infection, as much as possible and risk assessments are being carried out.

"Not all schools will manage this in the same way, as what will be needed in a small school will be very different to a large one. Classes will potentially be very different, as measures will need to be put in place to help keep children and staff as safe as possible.

"Schools will be in touch with parents and carers to discuss arrangements, once plans are finalised and the date from which schools can admit more pupils is confirmed. Each school will ensure parents are kept informed."

SIAN Thomas is the Chief Executive of the Ambitions Academies Trust.

It runs a number of primary schools including Kings Park, Queens Park, Elm, Manorside, Bayside and Kinson Academies.

She said: "Since the government announced a return from June 1 we certainly have been busy. We have referred to the guidance when making all our decisions and have gone through a strategy of developing risk assessments and action plans for every step of the way.

"Like everyone we are trying to ensure we put all the measures in place that mitigate against the risks. We are in regular contact with our parents/carers and in many cases I think parents are waiting to see what a return to school is like regards any transmission.

"We are expecting maybe 50 per cent uptake in the first instance and possibly a gradual increase over the half term if there is no negative impact regards transmission. It is all very strange at the moment and nothing that we have ever had to deal with before and are hoping very much that we don’t again."