Chartered College of Teaching comments on DfE schools meeting

Following today’s meeting between the Government’s scientific advisers, DfE and sector leaders, Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching has made the following comment:

At The Chartered College of Teaching, we are pleased to have had the opportunity to take part in discussions with DfE, unions and sector leaders this afternoon and it is encouraging that there is a move towards greater clarity. 

However, there are still questions that remain and we have requested further information about the research used to inform decision-making around reopening schools. We especially note the comments by Professor Chris Whitty that we are still ‘at the foothills of understanding this virus’.

We are concerned about teacher wellbeing and anxiety levels as discussions continue about providing for nursery and primary aged children.  Our profession prides itself on delivering high-quality education, much of which depends on nurturing relationships and a socialised environment.  We also would like greater clarity of the thinking regarding the potential negative impact of social distancing on teacher and pupil wellbeing. We believe it is right and fair that the profession asks these questions, especially when primary schools are being asked to open in under three weeks.  Attacks on our professionalism when teachers have shown great resilience and positivity in the face of huge obstacles is unjustified and harmful. It is imperative that the Government works with teachers and the whole teaching community for the benefit of children and young people. 

This follows the Chartered College’s publication of a new report looking at the potential global impacts of school closures and approaches to reopening.