ASCL calls for remote education for at least first two weeks of spring term

An emergency meeting of ASCL’s executive committee held this afternoon agreed to call on the government to move all schools and colleges in England to remote education for at least the first two weeks of the spring term in the light of rising Covid infections and the impact of the new variant of the virus.
ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton is writing to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to set out our position that face-to-face teaching should be provided only to vulnerable children and children of key workers until at least 18 January, with all other pupils being taught remotely from week beginning 4 January. External exams due to take place during this period should go ahead, provided schools and colleges hosting these exams are confident that they can do so safely.
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “It is very clear that the government’s plans for the start of the spring term are untenable. The arrangements it has announced are hopelessly confused and we have seen no scientific rationale for them. Many school and college leaders have no confidence in the government’s approach, and we are very concerned about the safety of families, staff, and the wider community. 
We are calling for a short period of remote education in order to protect all concerned and allow time for the government to work with the profession on a joint plan for safe opening. We fully support keeping education functioning as fully as possible during the Covid crisis but this has to be done safely, or the long-term consequences and disruption will be much worse.”