The behaviour of the teaching unions has been nothing short of shameful. It ought to be no surprise that they are resisting the Government’s plans to reopen schools, gradually and safely. For the past decade, they have adopted a nakedly anti-Tory stance, standing in the way of nearly every reform proposed.
一本道理不卡一二三区Since 2010, school standards have risen, discipline has improved, parents have more control, and the “all must have prizes” mentality of trendy educational theorists has given way to a welcome new focus on excellence. All this progress has been achieved despite the efforts of the union bosses to block it.
Yet the refusal of some even to engage with the Government over the reopening of schools is still shocking. The evidence that children have a very low risk of becoming ill from coronavirus is overwhelming, and enormous damage is being done to the life chances of young people who are not getting a proper education. In any case, the Government’s plans are cautious, contingent on the spread of the virus being controlled and schools putting in place measures to limit the risk to teachers and children.
一本道理不卡一二三区Nobody is suggesting that vulnerable staff should be put in harm’s way. Indeed, the evidence from countries that have reopened schools is that it can be done without a surge in infections. Surely the unions know that their demand to, in effect, eliminate all risk of transmission is impossible to meet? If they were being constructive, they would be working with head teachers to find innovative ways to mitigate that risk while allowing proper teaching to resume.
It is what other sectors are doing. Supermarkets have heroically kept open, providing protections to their staff while reorganising their shops to ensure social distancing. Restaurants are experimenting with takeaway-only services, and manufacturers have restarted work with safety measures in place. Why should schools be any different?
The Government must be uncompromising. The most hardline unions may think this is a chance to secure a victory against the Tory ministers they despise. Yet if they thwart the reopening of schools, it would be a victory won at the expense of the very children they claim to care so much about.