Schools dismiss govt instruction to reopen

Teachers are not confident that the workplace can be properly made safe.

8 Jun 2020| News

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a widespread lack of confidence in his Coronavirus guidance, with most schools choosing not to reopen to the extent the government instructed last week.

A poll by the National Education Union (NEU) found that 44% of schools did not reopen on 01 June and 21% only partially reopened, but on less than the terms expected by Johnson.

In the North East and North West, only 12% and 8% respectively opened fully.

However, not all schools were sensitive to the risks involved with the pandemic, with 15% of schools appearing to ask clinically vulnerable staff to return to work and 1% requesting the presence of people considered extremely clinically vulnerable.

“It was always reckless of Boris Johnson to set an arbitrary date and expect schools to fall in line … schools are listening to the science rather than politicans,” Joint General Secretary of the NEU, Kevin Courtney, said.

“This disconnect should be a wake-up call for government. Not only is the safety of the government’s plan in question but also the feasibility of it and confidence of headteachers in what the Prime Minister requested.”

Elsewhere, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the union, added that the government’s approach to the reopening of schools has been haphazard.

She told Sky News that the government was “making it up as it goes along”.

“Let me just give you one piece of information,” she said. “The government’s plans on reopening schools, since they were first producted on 12 May, have been changed 41 times.

“That’s because they have had to constantly be revised as things they have forgotten, things they didn’t know, things they have got wrong have been added in.”