Schools lack hand sanitiser and sinks, say teachers

Quarter of teachers say hand sanitiser not available in all classrooms and 40% say their school does not have sufficient sinks, according to NEU poll

lack of sinks in schools

Just days before schools are due to reopen, around a quarter of teachers say hand sanitiser is not available in all classrooms or entrance points.

And a similar amount say the numbers of pupils expected to return to school are too high to allow social distancing.

A total of 41 per cent of respondents to the snapshot survey of 4,016 members of the NEU teaching union said their school did not have sufficient sinks for children to regularly wash their hands.


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Mary Bousted, joint-general secretary of the NEU, said: “No one is saying we can only go back when it is 100 per cent safe, but this has not been thought through properly.

“Significant numbers of teachers and school staff are confirming that basic health and safety guidelines outlined by the government are not being observed.”

The survey, carried out among members at the start of this week, revealed

  • 53 per cent report they do not have lidded bins in each classroom.
  • 53 per cent report they are not being offered appropriate PPE.
  • 31 per cent believe the arrangements for cleaning their classroom are inadequate.
  • 22 per cent say that pupil numbers have not been kept low enough to allow social distancing
  • 26 per cent are concerned that pupil numbers will be too large to allow social distancing when moving around their school.
  • 41 per cent report that their school does not have sufficient sinks for children to regularly wash their hands.
  • 24 per cent state that hand sanitiser is not available in all classrooms or at entrance/exit points.

The DfE recently issued guidance about what measures schools needed to take for reopening from 1 June, including having lidded bins and sanitiser in classrooms.

A DfE spokesperson said: “We want children back in schools as soon as possible because being with their teachers and friends is so important for their education and their wellbeing.

 “The Prime Minister has confirmed that primary schools and nurseries should continue to plan for a cautious, phased return of some year groups from 1 June at the earliest, while secondary schools and colleges should plan to provide face to face contact for some pupils from 15 June.

“The welfare of children and staff has been at the heart of all decision making and we recognise that some schools may not be able to open to more pupils immediately. We will continue to work with the sector to identify and understand any local issues, and will support any schools experiencing difficulties to ensure they can open as soon as possible.”

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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