Covid inquiry must probe DfE response, say teachers

Union warns that 'lessons must be learned' from the government's record on education during the pandemic

Catherine Lough

Covid and schools: Coronavirus inquiry must look into DfE response, says Patrick Roach, of the NASUWT teachers' union

Teachers' leaders have called on the government to ensure that a promised inquiry into its handling of the pandemic includes examination of its record on education.

The call comes after prime minister Boris Johnson announced today that there would be a public inquiry into his government's handling of the pandemic next spring.

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Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said that he had repeatedly called for an inquiry of this kind, adding: "It is vital that the terms of reference of the inquiry focus expressly on the impact of all areas of the government’s response, including the provision of education; support for children and young people, teachers and the wider school and college workforce; as well as examining the role of the government’s emergency measures in widening inequality during the pandemic."

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Dr Roach added that the government needed to publish evidence of racial disparities during the pandemic.

“The government has previously refused to publish evidence on racial disparities, arguing that it was not in the public interest to do so," he said.

"It is essential, if there is to be public confidence in this process, that these matters are not only examined but that there is proper accountability for any failings by the government.

“The public inquiry must examine whether enough was done to limit the spread of Covid-19 in workplaces and in communities, and whether the measures put in place by government and employers were adequate and based on evidence.

“Lessons must be learned and action taken swiftly, given the continuing threat posed by the coronavirus.”

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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