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Those concerned about ongoing lack of education in Spetember and onwards....

302 replies

Weepinggreenwillow · 07/06/2020 08:02

I know there is a lot of differenc eof opinion on this, this isnt about teacher bashing etc.
But for those who are concerned about the potentail lack of access to full time education in September I would urge you to wrtie to your MP.
I have just done this to express my concern. I have never, ever done this before but I am so, so angry and upset about this I feel I need to do whatever i can, even if it will not help much.

This is my letter - to give you an idea....obviously everyone's individual circumstances will be different but the the general ideas will be similar.

Dear Mr xxxxxx,

In these difficult and challenging times I feel I need to contact you to request your help to address a matter of some urgency. I would like to know what the Government is planning to do regarding the current breach of Protocol 1, Article 2 of the Human Rights act which states that “No person shall be denied the right to an education.”

As an example I have 4 school aged children aged 12, 14, 15 and 18. None of them have received an education since March 17th this year. They have had some work set on line to be completed at home but I can assure that this does not in any way constitute an education. I am a doctor working full time in the NHS. My husband is a secondary school teacher.I fully appreciate all the many implications of this pandemic. I understand the reasons for school closures thus far. However this situation is simply unsustainable at this point. I am increasingly concerned that there seems to be no clear plan in place for a return to education for September. Part time schooling mixed with at home learning is being suggested by many schools. This will not provide my children with an education as both my husband and I will be working out of the home and will not be able to support the children with at home learning. I have been told if I instead chose to utilize the key worker children’s provision my children would need to remain in this “bubble” and would not be able to join their year groups on any day they were in school. The key worker bubble will not be being taught proper lessons unlike the year groups and so my children would be massively disadvantaged as well as missing out on being able to mix with their friends. Given that I have been working flat out in the NHS all through this, I find it incredibly unfair that my children may end up being penalised because of this.

Children all across the country are suffering massively. The many, many vulnerable children and those living in poverty are being placed at great risk of permanent harm. The impacts of this on young people’s mental health will be felt for many years to come.

A child’s right to an education is a basic human right. I understand why this has been temporarily suspended in these unprecedented circumstances but this can not be allowed to continue. I would remind you of the concept of Proportionality which applies when a basic convention is interfered with : this states that “Interference with a Convention Right must not be excessive, arbitrary or unfair, or have too severe an impact on a particular group or individual.” I would argue that interference with this particular human right is having a most severe impact on the group of the nation’s children and I would also argue that currently the interference seems to be both unfair and arbitrary.

I am not unaware of the many challenges of returning children to school safely in September, but I am greatly dismayed by the apparent lack of planning and problem solving that seems to be happening by the government. It was all perfectly possible to build extra hospitals (still unused) and to bring back retired NHS staff, but no such measures, or any other creative problem solving strategies, are being talked about to secure our children's futures it seems. Schools are confused, angered and frustrated at lack of discussion and planning from the Government. It would certainly seem as if the nation’s children and young people are a very low priority for the Government.

So please can you tell me, without further delay, how the Government plans to respond to this ongoing breach of a child’s basic human right to an education.

Yours Sincerely

OP posts:
treenu · 07/06/2020 08:19

Wow - it's sobering reading.

I am a secondary school teacher like your husband and it is overwhelming sad to think that these year groups of youngsters aren't going to get eduction that they deserve for some time. I want to get back into school but there are so many hurdles (mainly public transport and it's funding for a rural school).

I feel for you even more that as a key worker your children will be put in a different group so that you can both work. It is unbelievable.

I genuinely don't think that the government have a clue what to do with schools. Opening them was purely political to start with. However the consistent underfunding for the last 15 years has meant that the infrastructure just isn't there to provide what the children need.

We have a government that only cares about themselves and their rich friends.

reefedsail · 07/06/2020 08:25

Presumably the absolute silence from the Government on this is reflective of the total lack of a plan.

I don't think there is some grand scheme they just haven't told us about.

worzelsnurzel123 · 07/06/2020 08:27

Thanks OP - excellent letter .

Weepinggreenwillow · 07/06/2020 08:27

reef absolutely sure there is no plan, that is the problem. It seems the nations children are not worth considering or even trying to come up with a plan for.

OP posts:
irisnotadaff · 07/06/2020 08:28


CountessFrog · 07/06/2020 08:29

I’ve commented on your letter on another thread. It’s an excellent letter.

We are both NHS and we will be off sick for the foreseeable if the government can’t educate our children after the summer. A colleague of mine has gone off already, too.

tilder · 07/06/2020 08:32

There is no plan. It's horrendous.

I do not expect is to get better. Focus appears to have been NHS. Now shifted to getting prople to work. I suspect it will then move onto Brexit with a side order of blaming others.

Nothing for schools. Or universities.

MarshaBradyo · 07/06/2020 08:34

Good letter

KnobChops · 07/06/2020 08:37

I also work in the NHS and agree with all of your letter except: “I understand the reasons for school closures thus far”.

I don’t think schools should have closed, at most I would have accepted a few weeks while we slowed the hospital admissions. Hospitals are now pretty empty of covid. We then confirmed that children don’t get ill from this and don’t seem to spread it either. The problem we have now in reopening normally is the government have painted themselves into a corner with unnecessary insistence on 2m distancing measures.

Littlebelina · 07/06/2020 08:38

Thanks op

CountessFrog · 07/06/2020 08:39

I agree, knobchops.

But what will the unions say if they reduce it to 1 metre?

IknowIcan · 07/06/2020 08:42

This is a really good letter. We were just talking about this very issue last night. The abysmal failure to put in place additional facilities (maybe some extra mobile/prefab type classrooms to allow more to attend safely) and additional teaching staff to enable more of our children to attend school shows this governments attitude toward our children (and teachers).

It shows the utterly disrespectful attitude of the government toward the people they are meant to serve. And of course this failure affects the most vulnerable (special needs, those living in poverty) the most.

No doubt the government will now give us some lie/lip service (that will never be implemented) in order to tell us it's all fine....Hmm

okiedokieme · 07/06/2020 08:44

The problem is that all governments are scared, they don't know what to do for the best. If they release restrictions and cases go up, people complain, if they keep restrictions, people complain. It's a virus, we need a national conversation on how much risk collectively we want to take and provide comprehensive support for those clinically vulnerable people who need to shield if the r rate shoots up. I've had covid, it was very mild so yes I'm blasé about me but we do need to protect those with underlying health problems

AvoidingRealHumans · 07/06/2020 08:45

Great letter and I may use a template of it myself.
I intend to email my MP and also the secretary for education.
I agree it was necessary at the start but its getting silly now.
My son is in year 1 and should be back now but instead our school said they would only be putting the keyworkers children back into class so there are 8 children, a teacher and an assistant.
Those children have a massive advantage.
I can't see an end to this.

KnobChops · 07/06/2020 08:52


I agree, knobchops.

But what will the unions say if they reduce it to 1 metre?

I’m thinking this is why there is. A sudden u turn on mask wearing. Why now, when the covid numbers in the community are so low, unless it’s to persuade people that we can change the distancing to 1m or less? Anything that gets people back to work or school is fine with me. The problem is the stay home save lives message ended up frightening people and no one since has explained that the chances now of coming into contact with covid (outside of hospitals and care homes) is much much lower than it was pre lockdown (when we were all happily at work and school).
Bflatmajorsharp · 07/06/2020 08:57

Great letter and I completely agree that there needs to be plans in place for September.

I'm going to write directly to the Education secretary as well as my MP.

Nappyvalley15 · 07/06/2020 08:59

Strongly agree OP.

Yes Okie. Govt should have been more honest and nuanced with us but instead chose 3 word slogans cos they worked with Brexit. And now they have burned through any trust many people had with them with their incompetence and the Cummings saga.

Also their communication is pants. They have been so unclear about what they have been trying to achieve. First it was herd immunity (which they now deny), then flatten the curve to protect the nhs, now are we trying to eradicate the virus in the uk? Or are we trying to live with the virus? I am not sure. All of those require different strategies and make it harder to know when we should be doing things like opening schools. But in the meantime our children lose out educationally, socially and mentally.

Mischance · 07/06/2020 09:01

I agree that the government have no plan - they are busking it, as any government would have done. But hopefully a different government would have been better prepared, instead of ignoring the scientific advice from pandemic simulation models; and being too slow to recognise the seriousness of the situation.

I am concerned about vulnerable children not having regular school support and the oversight of teaching staff during term time.

I am less worried about non-vulnerable children not being at school for a few months. Our education system crams children from a very young age - some of the stuff they have to learn (e.g. fronted adverbials) has no point whatsoever and being at home and running about in the sun is better for them. Many children have undertaken interesting and stimulating activities whilst at home, and with the guidance of teachers via email and other electronic media I do not think they will have missed out.

In the grand scheme of things, these few months are a drop in the ocean. I think there are more important things for the government to be concentrating on - saving lives for one.

reefedsail · 07/06/2020 09:03

I strongly suspect there will be no uniform plan for September.

Schools will be given the instruction to 'continue to expand pupil numbers at a safe rate' and left to it.

That gives maximum opportunity for parents to direct their ire at the schools rather then the Government.

SarahMused · 07/06/2020 09:03

Great letter op I totally agree with you. The government needs to tell the schools what to do, not just give advice which gives the unions opportunity to scare parents and teachers witless with stories about R numbers when they have no clue what they are talking about. I would also add FE and universities as young people are at minuscule risk from the virus compared to missing out on months of their education. My children have finished school but I have a 19 year old at home who should be at university finishing his first year. He has no idea about what will happen next term. The young are paying the price for a disease that barely affects them. Protect the vulnerable and let everyone else get in with it.

CountessFrog · 07/06/2020 09:07


My y10 daughter has GCSEs next year. She’s too busy being worried to be out playing in the sun.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 09:09

Vulnerable children are very much the focus. Non- vulnerable children can become vulnerable and this “oh my kids are thriving on our home schooling at one with nature experience so yours must be too” is ludicrous.

Many parents are working, many will be working more in the months to come , many will have undocumented issues and struggles, many won’t have the time to do anything other than chuck a sandwich as they’re trying to keep jobs, many kids will have been struggling educationally and mentally before and not be classed as vulnerable, many non vulnerable kids will be living in crappy housing not suited for lockdown, teenagers are roaming the streets.....

This needs to stop for all not just a few. Our children are being massively let down. The gov simply don’t care. The economy is their priority and it stinks.


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frogsarejumpy · 07/06/2020 09:09

Agree entirely and will be using your template, thank you. Very concerned about the future of education for our children. Am also a key worker and wasn’t aware of the separate bubble issue, will look into that at our school. I feel there is an attempt to eradicate risk and that will never be possible. We need to work on an acceptable minimisation of risk for differing groups of the population.

KeepWashingThoseHands · 07/06/2020 09:10

Totally agree OP and was on the other thread.

People need to decouple 'teachers' from the 'government'. The problem is with the government.

CountessFrog · 07/06/2020 09:12

The separate bubble issue is definitely a thing. In my primary school, key worker bubbles will be educated alongside classes. So if your child has been taking up a key worker place, they will be educated apart from their peers in a mixed year group.

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