Commenting on the Government's acceptance of advice from JCVI for 16 and 17-year-olds to be given COVID 19 vaccinations, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

"No one wants the disruption to children’s education that was seen last term when hundreds of thousands of pupils were absent from school and levels of pupil infection rose sharply.  The recommendation by JCVI for the vaccination of 16 and 17-year-olds will certainly help to protect young people, their families and communities and minimise disruption to education next academic year.  

'Vaccination of 16 to 17-year-olds does not, however, mitigate the need for additional safety measures to continue to be in place in schools and colleges. With the autumn and winter terms coming up, the issue of crowded schools with no social distancing and inadequate ventilation remains a problem.

'Measures such as CO2 monitors are needed to check if ventilation is adequate. If it isn't and if the only way of ensuring adequate ventilation is through air filtration devices, then funding needs to be made available to purchase them. Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed this will be the case in schools and colleges in Scotland. 

'Government cannot keep repeating the same mistakes and ignoring the importance of ensuring schools and colleges remain as COVID secure as possible. Failure to do so will result in the same pattern of unnecessary disrupted education we have seen throughout the pandemic".      

ENDS 

2021-142-NEU