Safe Schools Campaign
The Conservative Government are pushing for schools to reopen in spite of the Government’s own medical advice, concern from unions and the BMA and the overwhelming worries of both parents and staff. Add your name to our open letter calling on the Government to reconsider it’s reckless plans to put our students, staff and families at risk:
Bolton North East Constituency Labour Party are writing to you in your role as Secretary of State for Education, Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire and Cabinet Member for Children in Bolton, to state that we believe that schools should only reopen when it is safe for all pupils and staff.
In light of the joint statement by nine unions this week– the AEP, GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, NSEAD, Prospect, UNISON and Unite – we feel we must echo their demands that robust safety measures must be in place before children and staff return to school.
The reopening of schools will depend on ensuring that families and carers are confident that allowing their children to return to school is safe, and we do not believe that sufficient levels of confidence exist at this time. For this to take place we agree with the principles and tests the government needs to apply are as follows:
Safety and welfare of pupils and staff as the paramount principle
No increase in pupil numbers until full rollout of a national test and trace scheme
A national Covid-19 education taskforce with government, unions and education stakeholders to agree statutory guidance for safe reopening of schools
Consideration of the specific needs of vulnerable students and families facing economic disadvantage
Additional resources for enhanced school cleaning, PPE and risk assessments
Local autonomy to close schools where testing indicates clusters of new Covid-19 cases
In addition we feel that the Department of Education (DfE) guidance has many areas that still lack clarity. We would like to echo the unions’ call to set up a national taskforce for ‘safe schools’ to be led by government officials, union leaders, and stakeholders.
Bolton North East Labour understands the importance of pupils returning to schools – and the wider benefits this will bring to the individual pupils, their families and the community. However, our children are not to be used as guinea pigs, and that is why we are calling for greater clarity in the guidelines which, according to the government, is led by science and safety.