A Special Conference of the NEU took place on Saturday via “Zoom”. A first-time delegate gives their impression of what was debated – and what was not.
“To expect me to run a school when we just cannot get tests is impossible”.
A Headteacher of a large primary school explains the growing pressures facing schools.
“Now we’re in local lockdown. Yet the schools are open, and there is still no sign of routine tests or even temperatures being taken at the gates. If they had routine tests each week then we could just get on with it. This nonsense will just lead to closures all over again”.
Socialist Party members played an important part in building the Day of Action organised on 21st August to highlight the need for a safe return to school in September.
The Government is clearly determined to press ahead with a full opening of schools in England in September – but without taking the steps necessary to avoid a further acceleration of infection within our communities, nor to protect the safety of staff, pupils and their families.
The latest research shows that the DfE guidance, recommending that schools open with full classes, no effective physical distancing and no PPE is reckless. Trade unions and parents must urgently demand that it is withdrawn and replaced with a strategy that recognises – and properly mitigates against – the real risks.
The NEU Executive needs to meet urgently and confirm that our policy remains – “Not safe unless 5 tests met” – and they aren’t yet met for September – and that members acting together to protect health and safety will be fully supported by the Union.
The chaotic return to lockdown in Leicester is exposing the scandal of privatised ‘ test and trace’ failure that lies at the heart of the UK Government’s failure to manage the Covid-19 crisis.
The Government, assisted by the BBC and others, are piling on the pressure to get schools fully opened for September. It’s clear that they want to abandon any effective social distancing so that full classes are packed into classrooms, despite the obvious risk of infection being spread and schools becoming the “institutional amplifiers” of the virus, as independent SAGE have warned.