North Somerset education trade union backs calls for schools to remain closed
PUBLISHED: 06:55 24 April 2020
An education trade union has written a letter to the Prime Minister calling for ‘an end to unhelpful speculation’ on schools and colleges re-opening.
In light of speculation on the further opening of schools and colleges, the joint general secretaries of the National Education Union (NEU) are calling on Boris Johnson for clarity on how the Government will make such a decision.
The NEU is asking for the modelling, evidence and plans which will form the basis of any decisions made by Mr Johnson and his Government to be shared.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said on April 19 there are no plans to open schools over the summer period.
He said five ‘tests’ must be met before schools could reopen, including a fall in infections and the daily death rate.
Schools were closed to all but vulnerable children and those whose parents or carers are key workers on March 20, with schools opening with a smaller number of staff members.
North Somerset’s district secretary Jon Reddiford approved of the letter sent to Mr Johnson by NEU’s joint general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney.
The letter said: “Our members are hard at work, supporting the children of key workers and vulnerable children who are still attending schools.
“They are helping efforts to support vulnerable children at home.
“They are doing their best to support children’s learning in these unusual circumstances.
“We are pleased that you (Prime Minister), other ministers and the chief nursing officer have acknowledged their efforts in helping NHS staff to be at work.
“Given an early return to full school populations will mean an increased risk to our members and the children in their care, we are writing to ask you to share your modelling, evidence and plans.
“In re-opening schools and colleges, you would be asking our members to take an increased risk, we believe they have a right to understand fully how any such proposal belongs within an overall Government strategy to defeat the virus.
“We have written to you as representatives of staff who in the event of schools re-opening would be asked to accept an increased risk for themselves and the children they teach.”
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