Approximately 1,173 local authority councillors from across England have signed the NEU Councillors letter to Gavin Williamson
Local Authorities are at the forefront of supporting families and schools during these unprecedented times. They are calling for greater support for local authorities to help vulnerable families, free school meals to be provided throughout the school holidays and for local authorities to be given a role in co-ordinating with schools, trade unions and the DfE on a safe end to school closure.
The NEU Councillors Network also fully supports the National Education Union call to only see a return to schools when the evidence says it is safe to do so.
The full text of the letter, which closed yesterday, is available here.
Cllr Maggie Browning, Southwark Council (Dulwich Hill) and NEU Councillors Network London Convenor, said: “Local authorities have been at the forefront of supporting children and their families throughout this crisis and the school closure period. It is essential that the government steps up and ensures there is the necessary funding to ensure disadvantaged young people do not lose out, including by providing vouchers for Free School Meals throughout the summer holidays. The school closure should only end when it is safe to do so and the government should work with schools and local authorities to coordinate this.”
Commenting on the letter, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The government is taking an approach which is nothing short of reckless in considering the wider opening of schools from 1 June. This puts everyone connected to the school community in a very difficult position, in preparing for the re-opening of schools when they simply do not think it is safe. The profession and parents are as one on this issue, and today’s letter to Gavin Williamson from so many councillors shows that the strength of feeling is widespread.
“We share the concerns councillors have raised in this letter regarding the summer period and how this can affect the most vulnerable in society, children and adults alike. We agree that local authorities have to play a lead role in coordinating any phased return for schools. The government would do well to listen to their deep concerns.”