Commenting on the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s announcement today (Sunday) regarding the Government’s new package to support online learning, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said:
“We welcome the Government’s recognition of the need to take concerted national action to support children’s education whilst schools remain closed to the generality of pupils.
“Teachers have already worked phenomenally hard to provide continuity of care for vulnerable children and to children of key workers as part of the country’s COVID-19 emergency response, whilst also providing access to online learning for the majority of children who are not in schools.
“No more could be asked of teachers and it is essential that the Government ensures that all teachers have the tools, support and guarantees they need to continue to support children during the current crisis.
“In addition, the NASUWT has previously made clear that the Government has an important role to play in bringing together a range of providers including media and technology companies, to complement the work being undertaken by schools in the national interest. It is right that the Government takes action to do so now.
“As we enter the summer term there has been growing speculation about when schools will reopen to pupils. It is clear that the answer is not to rush to reopen schools contrary to public health considerations.
“The Government must adopt a balanced, proportionate and coordinated approach, working with online publishers, media and technology companies to provide a wraparound learning offer that is accessible to every child, irrespective of their home background or circumstances.
“It will be essential that every child has access to the hardware and connectivity they will need to access learning online and on air. Ensuring immediate access to technology for every child will be critically important and the Government will need to demonstrate that it is prepared to put in the additional investment where and when it is needed.
“The Government will also need to ensure that teachers have access to the tools they need to support children’s learning whilst schools remain closed and without imposing unreasonable burdens on them.”