Just a quarter of school staff in England believe the government is doing enough to help them during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Tes survey.
More than 18,000 UK school staff responded to the online poll, which reveals that those in England are more dissatisfied than their counterparts in the other three home nations; with only 27 per cent saying they believed the government was doing enough help them, compared with 28 per cent in both Wales and Northern Ireland, and 32 per cent in Scotland.
The same poll has also reveals that only 8 per cent of UK school staff agree with Department for Education guidance that personal protective equipment (PPE) is not needed in schools, and that 74 per cent of staff believe social distancing is impossible in schools.
And asked what else they would like the government to do to help, many asked for PPE or commented on the lack of guidance on how to practise social distancing. One respondent said: “Show us exactly how social distancing is going to work when we are back full-time. It’s bad enough with 15 children in the current setting."
Coronavirus: Are schools getting enough support?
Another commented: "The language [the government] use isn’t helpful. They keep saying schools are closed. They don’t recognise all the things that schools are doing."
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “There have been frustrations over some aspects of the Department for Education’s handling of the crisis, particularly in respect of significant problems with the national free school meals voucher scheme.
“However, our experience is that the department has engaged constructively with the profession, and has done its best to provide information and guidance in a timely manner.
"If anything, the sheer weight of guidance has in itself become an issue, because it is hard to navigate through so much information, and one of ASCL’s priorities has been to provide it in an easily accessible format through the FAQs on our website.”
The Tes poll reveals that 37 per cent of staff in England do not think the government is providing enough help, compared with 34 per cent in Wales, and 29 per cent in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The question asked by Tes was: “In your opinion, is the government doing enough to help school staff at this time?”
A total of 36 per cent of staff in England said they didn’t know, compared with 34 per cent in Northern Ireland, 40 per cent in Scotland and 38 per cent in Wales.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Teachers and school staff have played a crucial role at the forefront of the nation’s response to coronavirus – keeping schools open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.
“We have rolled out coronavirus testing to cover all school staff, and published extensive guidance to support teachers on how to work safely during this period.
“Schools will remain closed until the scientific advice indicates it is the right time to reopen. Meanwhile, we are working in close consultation with the sector as we consider how to reopen schools, nurseries and colleges when the time is right, and will ensure everyone has sufficient notice to plan and prepare.”