Vix Lowthian, teacher, NEU member and Green Party Spokesperson on Education
The Green Party has backed calls from teaching unions to take steps to protect the safety of staff and students by moving to online learning from Monday in order to reduce the spread of infection of the new coronavirus variant.
The move comes as Green Party-led Brighton & Hove City Council has written to primary schools in the city to advise them to move to remote learning until Monday 18 January.
Green Party education spokesperson Vix Lowthion, a secondary school teacher on the Isle of Wight, said:
It is right that schools should only reopen when it is safe to do so and that cannot be the case with new-variant Covid spreading out of control. We fully support those unions who wish to remind staff of their legal rights not to work in an unsafe environment. Gavin Williamson needs to change his position on the reopening of primary schools urgently.
If the government had provided disadvantaged students with what they needed in terms of laptops and connectivity earlier in the year, it would have made it much easier for all concerned to carry out learning from home now. This oversight must be rectified as soon as possible so that access to education is maintained to the best possible standards while ensuring safety for all.
This is an extremely difficult time for parents, teachers and children and young people and so the government must listen carefully to the experts and trust teachers when they say it is not safe. This crisis is not going away any time soon. Teachers must be supported to deliver planned, high quality and sustainable learning within an environment which prioritises the health of the community.
For once, we hope the government will stick to its own mantra and actually follow the science to protect communities and families across the country.
The Green Party has also repeated its call for all frontline workers, including teachers, to be prioritised for vaccination.