Statement of support for School staff
City of Durham Labour Party Executive Officers express their full support to National Education Union (NEU), Unison, other Trade Union members and all local School staff and School Governors who on health and safety grounds consider the full re-opening of primary schools is not safe and puts pupils and staff at imminent risk which will inevitably lead to increased community transmission of Covid-19.
It is a failure of the Government’s handling of this crisis, including mishandling of test and trace which has led to this situation. Currently there is no safe alternative but to introduce remote learning for all pupils, except for vulnerable children and those of key workers.
County Durham has been moved into Tier 4, public health data demonstrates an increasing rate of infections which is higher than in some London Boroughs or the South-East where all schools have been ordered to close.
We join the NEU, Unison, GMB, ASCL, NAHT and other teaching unions in highlighting major concern at widespread school reopening, and support the roll-out of decent, online educational provision, as an emergency measure.
With reference to pledge number 7 made by the Leader of the Opposition during the leadership election last year, we ask that he, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education and the Shadow Health Secretary unequivocally support the action of the Trade Unions and all School staff.
The absolute priority right now must be reducing Covid case numbers, to ease the burden on hospitals and their workforce which are now feeling a monumental strain from this pandemic.
The NEU have launched a petition which we recommend people sign at MAKE SCHOOLS SAFE AND PROTECT COMMUNITIES as well as sending messages of support to NEU Durham district secretaries firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, and regional secretary Mike.Mcdonald@neu.org.uk.
In a statement of further support, Sheila Williams, City of Durham Constituency Labour Party Chair, said “I offer my full support to local school staff who consider, due to the increasing transmission of the Covid-19 variant, that it is not safe to fully re-open schools. This government has a responsibility for the safety of staff and pupils. To minimise further transmission, it must support the provision of remote teaching of pupils. This action will save lives and provide time for the vaccination of many more vulnerable people.”