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Responding to the announcement of the latest lockdown for England by the Prime Minister in which schools and colleges will move to remote education from tomorrow, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“We have seen a bad situation getting worse by the day. The position now is as bad, if not worse, than it was in March/April.

“A national lockdown is the only credible response to the high transmissibility of the new variant. It’s right that the Prime Minister has accepted our call to move immediately to remote learning for pupils nationwide.

“We have seen too much disruption to children’s education. But, without tougher measures that disruption was only set to continue. Limiting the spread of the virus is the only way to ensure schools can remain open safely after February half-term.

“Teachers have done everything that has been asked of them. But, teachers and pupils deserve the same levels of protection in the face of this highly deadly and highly contagious virus.

“Getting schools open again in February without further disruption means learning lessons. The Government must engage in working with the sector to develop credible solutions that will provide a sustainable basis for safe teaching and learning.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Government has not yet signalled rolling out the vaccine to prioritise schools and education staff. Keeping teachers free from Covid is the best way to ensure that children’s education does not continue to be disrupted going forwards.

“The Government must use the period of this lockdown to develop a robust plan for education recovery that is supported by a robust system of testing led by public health teams, stronger mitigations to prevent the spread of the virus and priority access to vaccines for the education workforce.

“Given the scale of the difficulties faced, the Government is right to look at alternative plans for exams this summer. It is essential that the Government works with the profession on these plans and does not repeat the mistakes of last summer. The Government must also confirm that it is cancelling statutory tests for primary school pupils.”

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