The Green Party backed teachers’ urgent calls to close school premises and move teaching online, except for the children of key workers and the most vulnerable.
Green-led Brighton & Hove City Council has already written to primary schools advising them to move teaching online until at least Monday 18th January 2021.
“It is right that schools should only reopen when it is safe to do so and that cannot be the case with new-variant Covid spreading out of control. We fully support those unions who wish to remind staff of their legal rights not to work in an unsafe environment. Gavin Williamson needs to change his position on the reopening of primary schools urgently.
“If the government had provided disadvantaged students with what they needed in terms of laptops and connectivity earlier in the year, it would have made it much easier for all concerned to carry out learning from home now. This oversight must be rectified as soon as possible so that access to education is maintained to the best possible standards while ensuring safety for all.
“This is an extremely difficult time for parents, teachers and children and young people and so the government must listen carefully to the experts and trust teachers when they say it is not safe. This crisis is not going away any time soon. Teachers must be supported to deliver planned, high quality and sustainable learning within an environment which prioritises the health of the community.”
The news comes as the National Education Union (NEU), which represents 450,000 education workers, advised its members to cite Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and refuse to enter what they view as an unsafe working environment.