Commenting on the Government statistics for school attendance, published today, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

"It is clear from the latest statistics that the Government is failing in its duty to reduce the infection rate and to provide pupils and teachers with tests in a timely fashion. This is eroding trust among parents, and it will be an uphill struggle for it to be regained.

"To ensure that as many pupils as possible attend school, the Government has to recognise that parents remain anxious about sending their children to school. The Government must make serious efforts to ensure buildings are as Covid-secure as possible to prevent partial or full closures, of which there are already 1,000.

"There are major steps which the Government could and should take right away. Schools need additional funding to rent more space to enable social distancing and to replace badly ventilated rooms. Schools need more funds to employ extra teachers to take smaller classes. Schools need more funding to hire more cleaning staff. But even with these measures there are parts of the country where it will be hard to convince parents that schools are Covid-secure because of the high rates of local infection."

ENDS

2020-162-NEU

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