Union responds to expected Government ‘backslide’ on pupils returning to school

The NEU say the minister is expected to backslide today on plans for all primary school children to have at least four weeks of class time before the summer

school playground through fence

The Government is expected to announce later today they will not be opening up primary schools for other year groups this summer term.

At the beginning of last week pupils in years reception, one and six returned to primary schools across the Island. It was intended for other year groups to return to school later this month.

During last night’s Coronavirus briefing, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said ‘current working plan’ was for September to be the “earliest” that secondary schools will be able to open.

Shreeve: Williamson expected to backslide on plans
Commenting on the Government’s decision not to press ahead with plans to bring all primary pupils back to school this term, Peter Shreeve, Assistant District Secretary of the National Education Union said,

“It has taken the government some time to recognise what was obvious. The government’s social distancing rules made it impossible for primary schools to admit all pupils before the summer holidays. Primary schools and secondary schools will not re-open to all pupils until September at the earliest. But even that date cannot, as Matt Hancock has recognised, be taken for granted.

“Gavin Williamson is expected to backslide on plans for all primary school children to have at least four weeks of class time before the summer during a Commons statement this afternoon.

“It follows an admission by Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, in last night’s Coronavirus briefing that the ‘current working plan’ was that September was now the “earliest” that secondary schools will be able to open.”

Shreeve: We need a national plan for education
Mr Shreeve went on to say,

“The consequences of Covid-19 are going to be felt in our education system for months to come.  The amount of physical interaction in schools is limited until our susceptibility to this illness is substantially limited.

“We need a national plan for education, along the lines being developed by the Scottish government.

“This should cover all possible scenarios and focus on blended learning, at home and at school; greatly increased support for disadvantaged children, including free Internet access so that they can access online teaching and learning, and the requisitioning of local public spaces, such as community centres and libraries, so that pressure on school space is lessened and more children are able to return to school in safe environments.”

Shreeve: Government must plan for a second spike
The NEU Assistant District Secretary finished by saying,

“The government must also plan for a second spike.

“Pupils in years 10 and 12 are facing an uncertain future. They have lost a considerable amount of teaching time in school.  The government must work with Ofqual to redesign GCSE and A level qualifications so that they are fair for all pupils – including those without access to computers at home.

“The Prime Minister acknowledged the Government had its own recovery plan (26th May) ‘to rebuild the UK for a world with Covid-19. It is not a quick return to ‘normality.’ Nor does it lay out an easy answer.’

“The scale of the challenge is immense. We need a national education recovery plan along the lines of the job recovery plan and it needs to arrive quickly, so that those, who we expect will deliver have the time to do so.”

Image: duchamp under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 9th June, 2020 11:54am


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

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2 Comments on "Union responds to expected Government ‘backslide’ on pupils returning to school"

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The really worrying thing about this is expressed in Mr Shreeve’s first sentence where he refers to the time it has taken for the government to reach a conclusion that to most was blindingly obvious. It emphasises an uneasy feeling that our government do not have a clear and cohesive strategy to deal with the Corona Virus pandemic, that remains a serious threat to all of us… Read more »
Mark L Francis
When the NEU opposed an early return the Daily Mail (Andrew Pierce on LBC) viciously and personally attacked Mary Bousted as a militant union leader wanting to sabotage education in order to further her revolutionary agenda and support for Cuba. (why Kevin Courtney escaped his ire I don’t know. I know Kevin Courtney & he still has my Che Guevara mug). At the time 93% of her… Read more »