Unions respond to key worker list

The Association of School and College Leaders and the National Education Union have commented on government guidance about sectors prioritised for educational provision during the coronavirus crisis

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We would appeal to parents on this list to follow the first principle of keeping their children at home if it all possible from Monday onwards, and to only send them to school if there is no safe alternative.

“The key worker list is extensive and schools will not be able to cope with the number of children who could potentially arrive on Monday morning. It is important that the public understands that this is not business as usual.

“Schools will endeavor to do their best to provide continuity of learning for all children whether at home or in school, but the provision in school is likely to be more akin to childcare than a normal timetable.

“Schools are working to an incredibly tight timescale to turn round this provision and we would ask everybody to show patience and understanding in this extremely challenging situation.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, added: “This is a very long list and could result in some schools having the majority of pupils attending. This will not achieve the goal of slowing the spread of the virus. So it is vitally important that parents follow government advice to keep their children at home, wherever possible. Schools can only accommodate a limited number of children and the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread.”

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