Commenting on calls by the Mayor of London to move London schools to online learning this week, and a move to do so by Greenwich Council, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:   

“The National Education Union is pleased that Sadiq Khan has written to the Prime Minister pointing out that the biggest spread of the virus is within education settings and calling on the Government to ask schools to close early for Christmas and re-open later and to provide extra resources for online learning. 

“Sadiq Khan is a politician who is reading the science and standing up for education and protecting communities. He also calls for secondary pupils to have regular asymptomatic testing to keep down transmission in schools. These would be important steps forward. 

“We strongly welcome the decision by Greenwich Council to urge all of its schools to close from Monday evening, to all except vulnerable children and the children of key workers. We urge other councils to take the same decision. 

“The Government should have been planning for this weeks ago. They have now started to recognise the blindingly obvious fact that transmission is happening in schools and that this can spread to families. Much more is needed to control the virus in schools and to protect communities.” 

Editor’s Note 

Our comment on rising figures in schools and amongst the majority parent-age group (35-49 years), published last Friday.

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Note to editors: 

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges across the UK, to form the largest education union in Europe. 
  • It is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing its members in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. 
  • 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.