The British Medical Association has thrown its weight behind teaching
unions opposing the government’s push to reopen schools in England, as
the debate over millions of pupils returning to classrooms grew
The country’s children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, also weighed
in, calling for ministers and teachers to “stop squabbling” and return
to the classroom to help disadvantaged children. No 10 reinforced its
drive to reopen primary schools for those in reception, year 1 and year 6
in two weeks’ time, warning that prolonged closures risked damaging
But the BMA – the UK’s largest doctors’ union – said in a letter to the National Education Union on Friday that the number of coronavirus infections remained too high to allow them to run safely. Teaching unions had been “absolutely right” to urge caution and prioritise testing before reopening schools on 1 June.
The prime minister’s announcement that schools may begin to reopen on
June 1 has been labelled as “confusing”, “frustrating” and “unfair” by
Boris Johnson announced last night that he hoped pupils in reception, year 1 and year 6 would be able to return to schools on June 1, and set out an “ambition” to allow secondary school pupils with exams next year “at least some time with their teachers before the holidays”.
England is still in crisis, and its government are in denial. It is very clear from Boris Johnson’s ‘address to the nation‘ last night (Sunday 10 May) that the government are trying to wish their way out of this crisis and that their top priority is the economy, not human life. There are clear differences in the attitudes of the UK government, applying directly to England, and the governments of other parts of the UK.
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Responding to tonight’s statement from the Prime Minister, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said:
“The Prime Minister’s statement that it would be “madness” to risk a second spike in transmission of the Coronavirus highlights the need for extreme caution.
“Regrettably, the Prime Minister’s announcement is likely to provoke confusion and does not address the genuine concerns that have been raised by teachers.
“The Prime Minister’s announcement lacks the clarity of statements issued by Ministers in Scotland and Wales who have reaffirmed the key ‘stay at home’ message.
“The Government’s announcement that schools in England might reopen to more children from 1 June risks thousands of schools rushing to make decisions about how best to safeguard the health and safety of children and staff in the absence of any clear national guidance.