Commenting on the Prime Minister’s remarks during a school visit, in which he told reporters he wants to see all children back at school five days a week from September, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“This should be everyone's aspiration, but it is not clear how the Prime Minister simply hoping will be enough in itself to achieve that goal. If the requirements of social distancing - in order to stop a second peak – are reduced even to 1m, then most schools could not have 30 children in a classroom.
“The Prime Minister's hopes are not enough. He needs a plan for more teachers, to ask teachers who have left the profession to return, and he needs to be finding extra spaces in which they can teach smaller groups. We need to use the ingenuity that produced the Nightingale hospitals to produce the extra spaces we need.
"One week ago, we wrote to the Prime Minister about our 10-point National Education Recovery Plan, a set of practical measures to make the safe return of schools possible. It is not too late for his Government to start engaging properly with unions before making further pledges which turn out to be unachievable."