Dame Alison Peacock – Chartered College of Teaching CEO – has commented following today’s (30th December) revised plans regarding the reopening of schools.
“Today’s announcement by the Secretary of State missed an important headline which would have gained support across our profession – school staff are key workers in this pandemic and should be offered vaccination as soon as possible.
Delaying the opening of secondary schools and colleges was the only course of action in the face of large-scale infection. However, if we had listened to our schools, our teachers and those organisations that support our profession we could have avoided yet another last-minute decision that places great stress on our teachers.
The capacity of schools to set up and distribute devices for pupil use from 4th January is welcome but yet again late decisions mean the timescale is totally unrealistic. The vast majority of primary and early years staff will return to dramatically increasing case numbers without social distancing or PPE while waiting for staff vaccinations to arrive at some unspecified point. This is a serious risk not only to our teachers and support staff but also to their local communities. Meanwhile, secondary school staff are having to again change plans while trying to understand the logistics for mass testing. Once again, there was no mention of special education or pre-school education and childcare.
Our teachers will do what they always do – they will act on this, they will prepare and they will show fantastic professionalism. We all want schools to be open but we need to be safe and safety feels fragile at best.