Speaking about the return to schools and colleges, after half-term, David Evans, Wales Secretary of the National Education Union Cymru, said:

"As schools and colleges reopen after half term, health and safety remains the top priority. The nature of this virus means we are bound to see further disruption to education and the welfare of staff and students alike must be paramount.  Whilst concerns remain regarding the availability of PPE and easy access to testing, we also need to look at innovative ways of working that will mitigate the spread of the virus and help the system to cope.

“The NEU has already floated the innovative idea of introducing a rota system to reduce the number of secondary pupils in the classrooms and corridors of schools in England. That could work in Wales and will help reduce transmission which we know is increasing in the school setting.

“We are disappointed that the Welsh Government insisted that secondary school teachers, not required to teach years 7 or 8 this week, go into schools to teach online lessons. The requirement for all staff to be in school regardless, seems to contradict the First Minister's directive that if you can work from home, you must.

“Inevitably at this time, the minds of young people will turn towards examinations and we look forward to the response of the Education Minister to the recent independent review and the report from Qualifications Wales. There is some merit in both proposals we saw last week, and whatever happens, our members know it cannot be business as usual. The Minister will be considering her options and we trust she will be taking a decision that helps support the learning of young people, whilst recognising the immense pressure in the system.

“NEU Cymru will continue to be involved in discussions regarding the way forward, with the best interests of both our members and students uppermost in our minds."

Press contacts:

The National Education Union is an amalgamation of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and National Union of Teachers (NUT), formed on 1 September 2017. Please see the below contact details for assistance:

Contact: David Evans, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818.  Mob: 07815 071164.

e-mail: david.evans@neu.org.uk

Note to editors:

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges to form the largest education union in Wales.
  • The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.