Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard has written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, asking for assurances that the safety of staff and pupils will be assured as schools return from lockdown today.
For the past week Luke has been conducting a school survey which has had responses from 300 Plymouth teachers and school support staff. The survey found our city’s school staff are concerned that social distancing will not be possible in schools and highlights concerns over the shortage of protective equipment.
Luke has asked the Education Secretary to provide clarity on key issues, such as how children with special educational needs will be accommodated, what plans are in place to ensure social distancing for pick ups and drop offs, and whether extra resources will be made available for mental health support.
Luke has also praised teachers in Plymouth, for working hard to provide care and education in these difficult times.Some Plymouth schools re-open today. Some Plymouth schools have been open throughout the crisis supporting vulnerable children and kids of key workers and many more teachers have worked from home supporting children through remote learning and regular check-ins.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“Plymouth’s teachers and support staff have been on the frontline of the battle against Coronavirus. it is clear to me how hard working and creative our teachers, support staff and senior leadership teams in schools have been, adapting quickly to support children and families in their community. Many have been working unprecedented long hours to provide learning materials and online classes, giving individual time to students over the phone and through video calls, and delivering food parcels to families in dire need.”
“My school survey has highlighted that teachers are concerned and anxious about schools returning and ensuring this is done safely. This is an impossible situation made worse by the uncertainty of a second wave. I want to pay tribute to the City Council, school leaders and staff for working so hard to support our kids learning but the important message about safety cannot be understated. We cannot risk spreading the virus by seeking to reopen schools too quickly – that is why school staff must be included in decisions over reopening and must get the support and protective equipment they need to keep themselves, their families and school kids safe.”