When I last wrote a blog for the NEU it was about how we could support teachers with our national mission. Who could have thought then that my next blog would be thanking the school community for helping the country in a time of national need?
For many of you, this week should have been the start of a well-earned break but sadly that is not the case this year. I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of our teachers and those supporting them for the incredible work that has been done over the last couple of weeks to support the nation's efforts and its response to the coronavirus crisis. You have responded with professionalism, passion and commitment and I am so proud and so humbled to witness that response. Because of you, we have enabled key workers to carry on their critical roles in the Covid-19 response. Because of you, we have also been able to provide support for some of our most vulnerable children.
Last week, I asked the profession to do even more and asked staff to keep schools open over the Easter holiday. Once again, you responded. I was so proud to be able to confirm that provisions has been made at all 22 local authorities to keep schools open over Easter - even over weekends and the Bank Holiday. Schools are providing a vital service during this time. They allow our key workers to get on with their jobs safe in the knowledge that their children are being cared for.
Of course as educationalists, you'll be concerned about the ongoing school closure programme and its effect on a child's education. I wish the schools could reopen after Easter but sadly we're not in a position to do that. However, while the ultimate priority is staying safe, pupil and teacher well-being is of paramount importance, and that includes looking ahead to when schools do re-open.
Together with unions such as NEU, our Local Authorities, Consortia, Heads and Universities we will be working hard to ensure that we can utilise all of the resources that we have to hand - including our world-leading Hwb platform - to be able to realistically support children's education in what would have been the traditional summer term. It will not be business as usual – I do not underestimate the practical challenges of teaching remotely while trying to make sure your own children are learning, or availability of IT. But it will contribute towards establishing some continuity of learning – for the workforce and learners.
I will be making announcements on that shortly, please follow me on Twitter, to find out more. Please stay safe and stay well, and for the very latest advice and information, please visit the Wales Government wesbite.