Following last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister that he plans to increase the number of pupils allowed to attend primary schools in England on 1 June, UNISON is asking the government: how exactly are you going to keep pupils, parents and staff safe?
Of course schools will need to re-open – but only when it is safe to do so. Differing messages from the four UK governments over the weekend have added to the confusion and concern.
Along with the other education unions and the TUC, last week we wrote to the government asking it to work with us to plan for further re-opening when the time is right and when it is safe to do so. The plan needs to address a range of issues including PPE, testing, tracing, isolation and social distancing. We have also called for school debts to be written off and for increased funds to help schools cope. The Prime Minister didn’t address any of these issues last night and it remains to be seen if the guidance due out over the next couple of days will do so.
UNISON believes the government should not be cavalier with the safety of pupils, parents and staff in England. Over the next few days we will continue working with other education unions to seek answers and will have a meeting of our national schools committee later in the week. As planned, we will also be surveying UNISON members in schools on your views. Please keep an eye out on the UNISON website and your emails for more information.
UNISON’s top priority remains the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents, staff and our communities.