Coronavirus: Could NASUWT conference really go ahead?

With the UK in lockdown, teaching union will not say if it has called off its national conference in a fortnight's time

Coronavirus: Will the NASUWT postpone its national conference?

Uncertainty surrounds whether the annual conference of the nation’s second-largest teaching union will still go ahead at Easter in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the shutdown of the UK Parliament, the Olympics and the UEFA Euro 2020 football tournament, among other key national and international events, the NASUWT is still advertising its conference in Birmingham next month.

And a union spokesperson told Tes this afternoon that there was, as yet, no official confirmation that it had been cancelled.

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A page on the NASUWT website says the conference will be held from 10-13 April, and provides links to enable some of its 280,000 members to book accommodation as well as a link (for members only) to a list motions to be considered.

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But one NASUWT member, who did not wish to be identified, told Tes: "People wouldn't turn up, in any case, for safety reasons. And it would be a gathering of more than two people which the police would have powers to disperse."  

A key event planned for the conference is the handover of the general secretary role from Chris Keates, who has been in post for 15 years, to incoming general secretary Patrick Roach.

Earlier this month, the Association of School and College Leaders union's annual conference went ahead (prior to the lockdown). However, the NEU teaching union announced last week that it had cancelled its annual conference in Bournemouth because of the coronavirus crisis.

The NAHT heads' union said that its annual conference, which was set to take place in Cardiff in the second week in May, has been postponed.  

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