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Government failure to issue reasonable key worker definitions places schools in an impossible position, says NAHT

Teacher and students

 Days after the government announced another national lockdown to supress the spread of Coronavirus, it has issued guidance which fills some schools almost to capacity running counter to the Prime Minister’s stated objective.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“Our members have reported to us that there has been significant additional demand for school places this time around.

“Of course, schools will be trying to offer the maximum number of places to families, but they have been put in an impossible position.  They cannot meet the demand created by government and reduce social mixing in the way the Prime Minister announced”

“The government acknowledges that schools do play a role in the transmission of the virus. Therefore, there comes a point when occupancy levels might be so high that they work against the efforts to bring down infection rates in communities, as is the national aim. This could result in prolonging the amount of time pupils are away from the classroom, which we are all anxious to avoid.

“Equally, if all staff are fully utilised teaching classes in school who is left to deliver the home learning for the few not covered in the definition?  

“Given the national priority to supress the virus, we believe that the government should offer guidance to schools so that reasonable levels of attendance can be set from school to school. In short, we would urge the government to be clear about how many pupils on-site is too many, if the virus is to be suppressed.”

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