Next week’s reopening of schools in England has been criticised by education unions and teachers themselves.
Teachers are concerned that the guidelines set out by the Department for Education, including social distancing measures, are simply not feasible and will only be putting the safety of everyone in the school community at risk.
Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: “If this means that schools are unable to open safely before September because they are unable to make arrangements to safeguard their staff and pupils, then that position must be accepted.”
Throughout school closures, teachers have been sharing useful resources and helpful advice with like-minded people to offer support wherever they can. The online teaching community have been sharing their thoughts on Twitter with fellow educators who are adapting and overcoming obstacles every day with their pupils’ best interests at heart.
Richard Gerver, a global educator and bestselling author, released a statement in support of educators: “I have seen, from my own family members and far wider, a profession that has reinvented ‘schooling’ in under two months. They are planning, designing, delivering and feeding back on lessons daily, contacting as many of their students as they can, sometimes playing relationship councillor or social care worker to parents and carers.
He tweeted: “My wife and daughter have cried on numerous occasions with concern and desperation wanting to see their communities come back together so that they can teacher, inspire, provide safe haven and support, which is why they chose education and why they get up every single day; it’s their vacation. They are not trying to stall the process, they want to get it right and they are challenging judgements, policy announcements, science and process because they care so much.”
”They are not trying to stall the process, they want to get it right and they are challenging judgements, policy announcements, science and process because they care so much.Richard GerverGlobal Educator and Bestselling Author
It has been suggested that schools in England could follow Denmark’s example, where children stay in small groups all day, in ‘protective bubbles. Teachers believe this is an unfair example with pupils who start school at an older age, smaller classrooms already in place and the country is at a different stage of the outbreak to the UK.
Dorte Lange, the Vice-President of the Danish Union of Teachers, agreed: “The situation in society and with Covid-19 is totally different [in the two countries].”
Although the government are said to be working closely with teaching unions to come to the best possible outcome, many teachers are feeling as though their voice is not being heard.
Assistant Headteacher Claire Lotriet tweeted: “In 10 years of teaching, I have never felt more let down and less valued and listened to by The Department for Education. There is no mention of the risk to staff. If safety measures need to be this drastic, does that not suggest it’s too early?”