Commenting on today’s Downing Street press conference, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

"We welcome the change in pace on vaccination that will now allow adults working in schools and colleges to get their booster much earlier than anticipated, and secondary-age children to have quicker access to their next jab. ONS data released this month shows that educators are 38% more likely to catch coronavirus than non-educators. It is clear that vaccines, ventilation and vigilance remain the essential tools with which we will get through the winter. 

"It is the priority of everyone working in education to keep schools and colleges safe. The rates of Covid-19 in education settings are closely linked to Government guidance on what mitigations are required and are not required, and a change of course can make a significant difference. That is why we believe guidance should go further - to expand face coverings to classrooms in secondary schools as well as communal areas, match Scotland in the handling of close contacts, and we really must hear a clear and loud message from the Prime Minister that regular testing is essential if we are to keep case counts down."