Speaking about the plans to move secondary schools and colleges to ‘distance learning’ for the last week of term, David Evans, Wales Secretary of the National Education Union Cymru, said:

“NEU Cymru secondary members will be heartened to hear that secondary schools are moving to a distance learning model for schools in the last week of term. With the cases of the virus now very high in Wales, and now that we know that young people can take the virus home to more vulnerable members of their families, this break should act as an opportunity to slow down the spread of the virus before the festive break.

“Our members in primary schools will rightly still be concerned about this decision. However, the Minister has agreed to look at any new evidence which suggests that the primary sector should move to distance learning. At the moment, Welsh Government believes the risk in primary schools is lower. We have communicated our members' concerns about this.

“Our members are keen to explore a rota system for secondary schools from January, with alternate weeks in the classroom, as a measure towards helping keep everyone safe. This should help see how that can work.

“With two weeks then before Christmas, it means that everyone – both staff and learners in secondary schools – are able to have a couple of weeks without mixing with people outside of their families, ahead of Christmas Day itself.

“No one wants to be in a situation where children and young people are missing out on school or college. But the virus hasn’t gone away yet. So, we need to put every measure in place we can to ensure that the health and wellbeing of everyone in education remains a top priority.

“We have already communicated with the Minister about our members proposals to make schools and colleges safer.”

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.