Following comments made by DfE minister, Nick Gibb, to the education select committee suggesting that if 12-15 year olds are offered a covid-19 vaccination they are likely to be carried out in schools, school leaders are calling on government to confirm that this will be overseen and run entirely by suitably trained clinicians, and not involve school staff.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, which represents leaders in the majority of schools, said:
“We need government to be very clear that this is a public health decision and not one that should directly involve school staff. Whilst schools might be reasonably expected to send out NHS consent forms to families and pass these on to NHS staff, that should really be the limit of their involvement.
“If pupils and parents have questions or concerns these must be answered by appropriately trained NHS staff – we cannot ask school leaders to become involved in those conversations, they are educators, not medical experts. Nor can we ask them to become involved in complex conversations around topics such as consent.
“Given the disruption of the last 16 months, those working in schools need to be fully focused on educating pupils.
“It is important to remember that vaccination programmes do already take place in schools up and down the country so many schools are used to this, but these have always been managed by clinicians, it should be no different when it comes to the Covid-19 vaccination.”