3 June 2020

Grave concern about school re-opening

UCAC education union has responded robustly to today’s announcement by the Minister for Education that schools in Wales will re-open step-by-step for all pupils from 29 June.

Dilwyn Roberts-Young, UCAC General Secretary said “Education unions have been in regular discussions with Welsh Government since the beginning of this emergency, including about reopening schools. In partnership, the profession has put provision in place in a heroic manner for pupils across Wales during this period of disruption.

“However, we are shocked that the Government has ignored the unions’ opinion that Years 6, 10 and 12 should have taken priority if schools were to reopen before the summer.

“The practical considerations involved in dealing with the return of even a small number of pupils before the summer are incredibly complex – not to mention attempting to give every pupil the opportunity to return. Creating a welcoming and supportive atmosphere, whilst ensuring an environment that is as safe as possible for everyone is an enormous challenge.

“We are fully aware of the possible benefits to pupils of a pre-summer return.  However, the potential benefits must be balanced against the risks – to the pupils themselves, to staff and the school community more generally.

“It’s very simple: the more pupils who return, the greater the risk.

“And in attempting to provide for all pupils, it will be harder to ensure the level of provision needed for those priority groups in Years 6, 10 and 12.

“We know that there will be extremely high levels of anxiety amongst teachers and school leaders in response to today’s announcement.

“We will be emphasising our members’ concerns in the strongest terms, in writing and in meetings with Welsh Government.”

Notes

  • UCAC is Wales’s own education union. It represents teachers, headteachers and lecturers in all education sectors across Wales

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