Backing Britain's teachers - schools must be safe

2020-05-27 -
Array, ASLEF
A graphic listing the NEU's 'five tests' for re-opening schools

We are calling on the government to put back the reopening of schools in England until the safety of pupils and teachers is ensured.

Mick Whelan, general secretary, said: 'We believe the government's decision to try to reopen schools on 1 June is dangerous and premature.'

Mick points out that the National Education Union, which, like ASLEF, is a member of the TUC, has five tests for what needs to be in place before schools can safely reopen: much lower numbers of coronavirus cases; effective covid-19 testing; a national plan for social distancing; a whole school strategy; and protection for the vulnerable.

'Teachers and the NEU are the experts in this field; they know their jobs, their schools, their pupils, and the dangers. It’s vital that the government listens to what they have to say.

'That’s why we support the NEU’s demands that the government allows schools to reopen when – and only when – it is safe to do so. Safe for pupils, safe for teachers, and safe for ancillary staff.'

Mick warns: 'One death in our schools is one death too many and I fear the government, in its rush to force pupils back into the classroom, is putting the health and safety of children in danger.'

The NEU has outlined five tests which should be met before schools are re-opened:

  1. Much lower numbers of Covid-19 cases
  2. A national plan for social distancing
  3. Testing, testing, testing!
  4. A whole school strategy
  5. Protection for the vulnerable