ASCL comment on plan for full reopening of schools

27/01/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the announcement that the full reopening of schools is planned to begin from 8 March.
 
Commenting on the announcement that the full reopening of schools is planned to begin from 8 March, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

It is no surprise that the full reopening of schools has been delayed given the grim toll of deaths and the huge pressure on the NHS. Everybody agrees that getting all children back into class is vital as soon as possible, but this clearly cannot be rushed in such desperate circumstances, and we understand the government’s decision to extend the lockdown restrictions.

What is crucial is that the government ensures that full reopening is done in a way which is safe and sustainable, and which inspires the confidence of education staff and the public.

It must straighten out the confusion over the use of rapid turnaround coronavirus tests, review its guidance on safety measures for schools to make sure these are fit-for-purpose, and set out a timetable for the vaccination of education staff.

We are very happy and keen to work with the government on the detailed planning for the safe reopening of schools to all pupils.

We also welcome the commitment to additional catch-up support and we look forward to seeing the detail.

It is important to understand that schools are in fact open right now and are providing face-to-face teaching for many vulnerable children and the children of key workers while also providing high-quality remote education for millions of children who are working from home.

This is a very challenging situation for all concerned, and we pay tribute to our education staff for all the work they are doing at this time to sustain educational provision.”