Education unions say now is not the right time to reopen schools on the Isle of Wight

Four education unions have written to the Isle of Wight council Cabinet member responsible for education stating why they believe now is not the right time to reopen schools

woman holding hand in front to say stop

Four local education unions – GMB, NASUWT, NEU and UNISON have sent an open letter (see below) to the Isle of Wight’s Cabinet Member for Children’s services, Cllr Paul Brading, expressing their views on planned reopening of schools across the country from 1st June.

Peter Shreeve, Assistant District Secretary of the National Education Union said:

“We particularly agree with Councillor Brading’s recent remark: ‘Harder decisions are around not when to reopen, but how. If it’s not right and we’re not ready, it won’t be done.’

“All four unions believe, it is neither the ‘right’ time, nor do we believe that schools are ‘ready’ to return on June 1st. They have also been listening intently to members views.

“Earlier this week the NEU met online with its island school representatives to hear concerns about a potential June 1st primary schools opening. They were asked to go through a planning guide, to allay fears that everything was being done to mitigate against transmission.  It includes a national 20-page safety checklist, written jointly by NEU in collaboration with GMB, Unison and Unite.

“This letter to Councillor Brading follows on the heels of a recent joint national statement by nine education unions, which said: ‘We call on the government to step back from the 1st June and work with us to create the conditions for a safe return to schools based on the principles and tests we have set out.’

“The virus has not yet disappeared. We still have concerns around the dangers of the spread of Coronavirus within schools, and externally from schools to parents, sibling and relatives, and to the wider community. All education staff do genuinely want schools to re-open, but only when it is safe.”

OnTheWight has questions with Cllr Brading and will update later today once we hear back.

Image: Nadine Shaabana under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 22nd May, 2020 11:23am



Filed under: Education, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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2 Comments on "Education unions say now is not the right time to reopen schools on the Isle of Wight"

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A new report from the Institute of Global Change, brought to readers’ attention by OnTheWight today, advises that some named areas of the country are ready to ease lockdown and allow more mobility, but in 14 areas, including the Isle of Wight, the R (Reproduction) rate of the virus is still rising, and in these areas the spread of the virus could be reduced with stricter lockdown… Read more »
It is more than merely the R number that makes a difference to risk, the level of infections in the community is also a factor! The R value (reinfection rate) must be low, AND the number of infections in the community must be low to make relaxation of rules a consideration. Nobody has said what is an acceptable number of additional deaths for opening schools – we… Read more »