The Workers Union is supporting Boris Johnson’s pledge to get children back to school in September.
In comments published in a Sunday Newspaper, the PM said that schools should be the last sector of the economy to close in any future lockdown.
He also stressed that educating our children is a ‘moral duty’.
The Workers Union says
The Workers Union’s Chief Spokesman, Johnathan Morgan, said: ‘We’re backing Boris to get our children back to school. As a union that represents working people from every corner of this country, we know the effects that COVID has had on family life. Parents were already under pressure; then they were asked to become part-time teachers. It’s fantastic that mums and dads everywhere have risen to the challenge. But now it’s time for teachers to get back to their classrooms.’
Mr Morgan was also keen to stress that padlocking the school gates could disproportionately affect some children.
‘It’s a competitive world out there. Children whose parents can afford to pay for private tuition are less likely to be affected by lockdown. For those in less fortunate circumstances, the lack of formal education could make a huge difference to their life chances. The attainment gap is already a yawning chasm – keeping kids out of school will only make the situation worse.’
Managing The Risk
In addition to the moral case, the Workers Union also believes that there’s an overwhelming economic argument. The latest news indicates that there’s been another drop in the number of people in paid employment. According to the Office of National Statistics, companies shed another 220,000 jobs between April and June. This is the worse slump since the financial crisis laid waste to the UK jobs market a decade ago.
Mr Morgan said: ‘In the last ten years, the working people of this country have suffered so much. The widening-gap between rich and poor, zero hour contracts, unacceptable working conditions and austerity have all taken their toll. We’re saying that getting the nation back to economic health should be front and centre of the government’s priorities. By sending children back to school, it would free up time for people to look for jobs or develop their skills. It would also allow those in employment to focus on their work without having to split time between working and teaching.
‘In doing this we don’t have to take unnecessary risks. The government has posted evidence that it is able to act fast to contain local outbreaks of Coronavirus. The quarantine regimen and the local lockdowns have shown that they can be an effective deterrent to the spread of the virus.
‘To those who say that this is an irresponsible position, that it is putting the lives of our children – and their parents – at risk, we say consider the science. The Department for Education has an as yet unpublished report that suggests that there is little evidence that the virus is transmitted in schools.
Coupled with sensible social distancing measures and a commitment to safe schooling, this should act as the green light we need to put this country’s children first.’
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union