The NEU is not convinced that it is safe to open schools more widely on June 1st.
The Prime Minister today said that primary schools could move to wider opening from June 1st, though he acknowledged that many wouldn’t be ready to do it by that date.
The National Education Union is concerned that independent evidence does not justify wider opening. We note that Sir David King, of the Independent Sage group said on Friday: “It is clear from the evidence we have collected that 1 June is simply too early to go back, by going ahead with this dangerous decision, the government is further risking the health of our communities and the likelihood of a second spike."
Independent SAGE have modelled specific risks and they say the risks to children staff and others could be halved by delaying opening to June 15 and reduced yet further by later dates.
It is hard for schools and staff to rely instead on the Prime Ministers assertion that such wider opening would be safe. This is especially the case when the Government’s own advisers say that contact tracing and isolation should be working before wider opening and when the Government hasn’t even modelled the specific proposal it is putting forward.
Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"The NEU does not agree that it would be right for primary schools to open more widely on June 1st. We once again call on the Government to engage meaningfully with the education unions on these matters. We stand ready to talk to the Government about how our five tests can be met and then how we can then proceed to a safe wider re-opening of schools.”