Speaking to TalkRADIO, the former director general of the CBI blasted teachers unions now threatening to refuse to comply with new coronavirus guidance telling all children they can return to the classroom in September. Lord Digby Jones furiously called on teachers unwilling to return to work to “look in the mirror” as he argued they should be “ashamed”. He said: “I think teachers unions should be ashamed of themselves.
“When you’ve got a society where the pubs are open and the schools are shut, when you have a society where trade unions can dictate whether a kid gets an education, and when we all know that a teacher going to school has got more chances of being killed in a car crash driving to school than they have of catching coronavirus at school, then frankly when you’ve got the world just trying to go to work, I would just ask the teachers – and I’m sure so many of them are listening to this are on holiday.
“You deserve your holiday and well done, but so many would be thinking he’s got a point here.
“And they have politicised this virus and it’s not for the good of the future or for the good of the children, for the good of parents who need to get to work but they’ve got to look after their kids, for the good of the nation.
“I would ask the trade unions and the teachers sector to look in the mirror and explore their consciences.”
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Schools reopening: Lord Digby Jones says teachers unions should be ‘ashamed of themselves’
Schools reopening: Lord Digby Jones calls on teachers to ‘look in the mirror’
Ministers are coming under pressure to allow face coverings to be worn in schools in England ahead of their full reopening next month.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth has said face coverings for older children in schools “should be considered” as students return in September.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, Mr Ashworth said Labour would accept “tough decisions” to make sure all children can get back to class after months of partial closures.
Government guidance for schools returning in September says face coverings are not required as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups – and they should be removed on arrival at the school gates.
But the NASUWT teachers’ union has called on the Department for Education (DfE) to revise its guidance on face coverings “as a matter of urgency” to help staff return to school in the autumn with “confidence”.
It said the Government should encourage school and college staff to wear clear facial visors if there are concerns that teaching and learning may be impeded by the use of face masks.
Patrick Roach, general-secretary of NASUWT, said the position in schools is “out of step” with public health guidance that suggests face masks should be worn when physical distancing cannot be assured.
In a letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, Mr Roach said: “Strategies for minimising contact between pupils and staff (i.e. ‘bubbles’) are unlikely to be effective given constraints of building design, limitations of space within schools, and the inability of schools to control for wider social interactions involving children and adults within and outside their perimeters.
“We strongly suggest that your guidance for schools should now be brought into line with changes to the Government’s guidance for other sectors, public transport, shops and supermarkets.”
The GMB union has also called on ministers to allow school staff to wear face masks if they want to when they return in September.
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Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary, said: “Our members tell us they are scared of what’s to come in September and they feel it’s strange the Government tells them to wear masks on the way to work, and if they go to get lunch, but not when they are in school.”
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is calling for greater clarity on whether schools can permit face masks if pupils or staff want them.
Its general-secretary Geoff Barton said the guidance leaves key questions unanswered.
“One, how should schools respond if pupils and staff want to wear face coverings?” he said.
“Two, do they have the flexibility to introduce the use of face coverings in constricted spaces where there is more mixing, for example in narrow corridors? We are seeking answers from the Government to these questions.”
Government guidance warns the misuse of face coverings may “inadvertently increase the risk of transmission” in schools and there could be “negative effects” on communication and education.
Source Daily Express :: UK Feed