Originally the government had no intention of closing schools, when herd immunity was THE strategy one advisor on TV suggested closing schools could be counter productive as it would slow the spread.
NEU were one of the first to call for closures weeks before lockdown, at the time we were made out to be over reacting, in hindsight we were spot on
Lockdown statement said keyworkers only, then an hour later it changed
Government didnt have a list ready, we will get it to you soon, this was Friday everything would have to be in place Dunday afternoon for Monday start
But it wasnt the only immediate issue the government has done no planning for. Safety.
Exam results: unions went to government to work it out, no plans,poor original suggestions, we worked together to put together something more reasonable.
NQTs&Trainees? No planning either.
Heads had to press government on this (see @chrisdysonHT for a great example)
The NEUs guidence for online learning has been misinterpreted (deliberately) in the media who say we are telling teachers to not do it. This is a lie
Once again pressure from heads and unions got the sluggish gov to promisedlaptops and modems for student that needed it. Heads drew up lists
One head needed around 30 laptops and modems,got told they would get 11 laptops and 7 modems, repeated across England
Last I heard DfE said it would be sorted by June, priorities?
Notice the pressure on government has come from educators, unions and other groups.
What conditions would have to be met? How would it be managed? Which students? How many? How would safety in schools be managed? What was the gov thinking what evidence and modelling was it doing?
The NEU was also collecting evidence from studies around the world to inform risk reduction, compilations are on my Twitter account. We wrote to the gov.
“No child under 10 has infected an adult” which has been constantly parroted this week is proven to be false but is accepted as fact by many
Are you starting to see why Williamson’s statement that hes willing to talk to the unions and that we should engage has angered us so much?
While the government continued to refuse to share its modelling of risk and planning, Downing street spent more time talking to and briefing their loyal papers who floated possible phase structures and 1st of June date
This was after Johnson had already recorded his statement, Williamson reassures Kevin that no date had been set, papers were briefed to say government were going to be cautious a date for schools was unlikely. Then that night the DfE this statement
NEU saw this as a sign of hope that their requests for modelling and collaborative planning would finally be met.
Then Sunday statement came and it wasnt just setting a clear day that we had been told wouldnt happen that shocked us, union thinking had been increasing numbers by focusing on disadvantaged across year groups or older students more likely to social distance.
Monday some guidence came out, year 6 would be back 1st June
Tuesday it changed without heads being informed, FE and Sixth forms must now open on 1st June and yr 10 and 12 must be going in, all primary students must also have a month in school..
The DfE were bounced into increasing student numbers, they weren’t expecting it and weren’t prepared.
We accept there will always be risks for now but we arent willing to accept unnecessary risks that could be mitigated, it’s not political it’s a public health issue about a second
So finally I come to Saturdays and the start of this writing.
@annelongfield said both sides needed to stop squabbling, engage with each other and get students back into school by 1st of June. Despite seeming to sound a sensible broker in the middle
We are still waiting for the scientific discussions and studies behind the governments thinking that we were promised, how
Unions are still asking for collaborative planning to redraft the guidence and the government still hasnt set up a meaningful consultation, as the headteachers
Will the government release the science its following? Will it address the findings of international studies that schools are major hubs of transmission?
Will it sit down with all unions for real constructive talks
Or will they carry on regardless?
If they do just remember that if they and their loyal press and commentators tell you it’s the unions fault for refusing to engage that they’re being massively dishonest and are playing PR and politics
This is a personal private response and not officially endorsed.
2 appendix follow
Joint union response to the government, followed by virologists, public health experts etc all voicing their concerns that the current plans risk a second peak and links to lots of research
People say you cant criticize the gov in hindsight for a late lockdown.
NEU were one of the first organisations to call for a lockdown, if gov, we were right then, we are right now, this is a reckless charge without proper safety consideration #edutwitterhttps://schoolsweek.co.uk/coronavirus-unions-urge-government-to-step-back-from-june-1-school-reopening-plan/ …
Unions: Government should ‘step back’ from June 1 reopening
Unions representing hundreds of thousands of school teachers, leaders and support staff have called on the government to “step back” from its plan to have some pupils return to schools on Ju
Manufacturing consent for increasing student numbers before it’s probably wise too.
A prediction from over a month ago on how we would end up with what the press is trying to turn into a tribal political battle
8TH APRIL: PREDICTION
Within a few weeks opening UK schools will become a political battleground.
Initially the RW ignored Covid19, the propaganda machine focused on telling us it was scaremongering
When the truth dawned, they were left rudderless for a while.