'Ridiculous' delay to Covid guidance lets schools down

Heads' leaders say the delay in DfE new guidance from the announcement of lockdown 'beggars belief'
4th November 2020, 4:25pm

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'Ridiculous' delay to Covid guidance lets schools down

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/ridiculous-delay-covid-guidance-lets-schools-down
Schools Guidance Covid

Headteachers have condemned a delay in government guidance for schools following the announcement of new national lockdown measures over the weekend.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders' union, said that it "beggars belief" that schools had had to wait until today to be informed of safety measures during the lockdown.

"The government announced new national lockdown measures on Saturday - four days ago," he said.


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"It beggars belief that schools have had to wait until now to find out how it affects them. All along, we have said the priority must be children and young people and their education and wellbeing.

"The government's last-minute publication of this guidance does not help schools in this matter one bit.

"Frankly, it is ridiculous that this new guidance has landed on school leaders' desks less than 24 hours before the start of the national lockdown.

"There is very little in the guidance that could not have been communicated with schools 72 hours ago. The government still have many questions to answer when it comes to how it will ensure schools are kept safe amidst rising case numbers."

The guidance, published today, has advised "extremely clinically vulnerable" teachers to work from home, such as staff who have diabetes or are pregnant.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said that the guidance was "absolutely the right decision, but it will mean that there are more staff missing from the workplace, on top of those who are self-isolating".

Mr Whiteman said the restrictions around vulnerable staff would mean that "some schools may now find it increasingly difficult to remain open to all pupils".

"We restate our call for the government to fully fund all measures that schools will need to take to remain open, including Covid safety measures and any additional costs that may come from hiring in supply staff," he said.

"At the most challenging time schools have ever faced, many school leaders will yet again be feeling enormously let down by the way the government is handling all of this," he added. 

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