As of the 16th of October, the infection rate in secondary schools is now 17 times higher than it was on the 1st of September. Considering this alarming data, Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries' of the National Education Union, have written to Gavin Williamson asking him to take decisive action to curb this trend, including the possibility of a rota system for secondary schools and colleges in Teir 2 and Teir 3. 

The NEU has produced a document (1) looking at the pros and cons of a rota system. 

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

"We now have a situation where the infection rate in secondary schools is 17 times higher than on the 1st of September.  This is alarming and it is crucial that Government looks at all potential measures to stabilise the situation including the possibility of a rota-based system for secondary schools and colleges as outlined in the Government’s August guidelines (2). 

'A rota system will ensure smaller class sizes making social distancing achievable. The strain on public transport in the mornings and afternoons will be less and the social mixing after school will also be reduced. 

'Schools and colleges are already struggling to cope with current infection rates resulting in many students or whole year bubbles being sent home to self-isolate. If this trend continues and nothing is put in place to try and reduce infection levels, our education system will be plunged into disarray.

'Our schools need a clear way forward that ensures education can continue in a planned and coherent way. No decisions will be easy, but to just keep ignoring the data and drifting into higher infection rates with the increased erratic closure of schools and colleges is not an option. 

'We look forward to hearing from Gavin Williamson to discuss our proposals further". 

Full text of letter below:

NEU letter to Gavin Williamson- 22 October 2020

Members tell us that even when in school pupils are distracted and unsettled because of their different, and irregular, periods of absence, and that standards of discipline are declining.


Editor’s note 

  1. NEU document rota systems in secondary schools
  2. August Framework Teir 2 remote learning