The SEA has written to the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon. Kate Green MP, to express our concerns on the current crisis on schools remaining open during lockdown. The letter was dated 5th November 2020 and undersigned by SEA General Secretary, James Whiting. A full version of the document can be read and downloaded in PDF form below and has been filed in the Documents section of our website.
COVID 19 unfortunately does not stop transmission at school gates. Professor John Edmonds, a member of SAGE, said on Newsnight last Monday that the proposed lock down would have little impact on infection rates,one reason being school closures were not included. Andy Burnham and other northern mayors have made this point. Keir Starmer himself wanted to implement a circuit breaker over half term because this would include a period of school closure. Unfortunately, sometimes politicians want to disregard the evidence in order to make populist points. What should have been said is that it is our moral duty to provide education to our young people which is both as safe and effective as possible in the current circumstances, and that includes the mental and physical well-being of pupils and staff.James Whiting, SEA General Secretary
The letter concluded
We would urge you as Shadow Secretary of State to consider what the epidemiologists are saying. Instead of seeing their evidence as a mere inconvenience as Johnson does, we should be planning education provision which addresses their concerns. In putting forward these arguments, Labour may initially face accusations of failing in its moral duty to children. Politics should be about leadership not just populist sloganizing. Labour would be proved right in the long run.