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Covid

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:
ragged · 07/06/2020 09:14

I like your letter OP. Mine are similar ages & in similar Limbo.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 09:15

Does anybody know if secondary kids who go in as key workers children will be kept from their year group going forward? My year 10 child will need to be with his peers( GCSEs next year). Was about to ask for a key worker place but will hold fire if that is the case.

Poetryinaction · 07/06/2020 09:19

You make a lot of sense OP. I can't help but feel that this government cares little about young people.

CountessFrog · 07/06/2020 09:19

I have a y10 also, and there is definitely going to be a key worker bubble in her school.

Handsnotwands · 07/06/2020 09:19

I can’t understand why we can’t utilise other buildings, if the lack of classrooms to allow distancing is a problem (which it is for our school). Church halls, village halls, pub function rooms etc. I live rurally but every village around here has one or all of the above

CountessFrog · 07/06/2020 09:20

Ah sorry - between now and July. I don’t know about September. Listening to local Facebook, arrangements for September vary between ‘back to normal’ and now school until 2059’ type thing.

CountessFrog · 07/06/2020 09:21

Hands, because ‘it’s too hard.’

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 09:22

So Countess will you hold back from using it incase year 10 get some teaching together going forward?We’re both working full time, I can’t monitor or enforce work. It doesn’t seem fair my dc should suffer educationally because of this. Don’t want him to miss out on year 10 specific lessons in the future because we caved and sent him into a key worker bubble. Feel as if we’re between a rock and a hard place.

Drivingdownthe101 · 07/06/2020 09:22

In our school the key worker children are joining their class bubbles when their year group restarts, thankfully.
Great letter OP.

Chosennone · 07/06/2020 09:23

Secondary teacher here. I just can not believe more isn't being done! We have an excellent and very pro active SLT and they have been in despair at the lack of clear guidance.
Er have haf a range if curriculum planning tasks and CPD to do whilst working from home. I raised the issue of using the time to plan for socially distanced lessons within school. Others raised the issue of recording lessons and improving the work from home provision. I also asked if banks of sinks/hand sanitising stations were being set up?
SLT reported back that nothing of the sort was being directed from above. No clear messages/directives/plan B's at all!

Instead SLT have worked incredibly hard doing what they think might work or could happen!? They also recruited new staff and organised our timetables for the pre covid world! What a waste of time!?

I did hear rumour of field/tents being erected for extra teaching space but nothing about pre fabs/temp class rooms/aquiring unused spaces.

Mumteedum · 07/06/2020 09:24

I agree OP. We want to hear plans and have leadership. There is none.

I am a lecturer and have been waiting to see any mention of unis by the government.

I understand all education is a concern but I don't think schools and universities should be compared. Schools can judge risk based on data of local R at the moment.

Universities will see thousands of students move all over the country and all over the world. They will also be using public transport more and socialising more. How they will affect transmission is unknown but risks pushing higher. The risk to them as individuals may be low but to mature students, and staff (many of whom are in older age groups and have health conditions) it is not. That's why you can't just say
"Protect the vulnerable and let everyone else get in with it".

Annebronte · 07/06/2020 09:24

Absolutely agree with you. Good letter. I’m teacher and I complete disagree with the prolonged closure of schools.

Xmasbaby11 · 07/06/2020 09:25

I agree op. There has to be more that could be done. I don't agree it's a drop in the ocean. It's going to be at least 6 months of no school for mine, possibly more, with many more months disrupted. Catching up is easy for some kids but others will struggle and I doubt there will be any extra support. Some kids were behind already, and now out of the habit of learning. Teachers will be working hard to bring kids up to the level they should be,but unless the gov provide financial support or amend the curriculum, it won't be possible. The gov needs to consider this.

Ugzbugz · 07/06/2020 09:26

I agree, why are we being kept in the dark. Even if they said if the R rate is above 1 schools will be closed or part time or if is below 0.5 then they can return, just something but nobody knows anything.

I can barely help my DC as dont understand half of the maths well all of it and I work full time. These children need to be in school.

Weepinggreenwillow · 07/06/2020 09:28

The key worker bubble thing depends in individual schools I think. I've been told my DC school that if I took up a keyworkers place, so full time, my DC would remain that "bubble" even when they're years may return part time as they wouldn't be allowed to be in 2 bubbles. So effectively they would have to stay in a mixed year group bubble, which does not offer any taught lessons while their years may be able to access some part time taught lessons amongst their own year group and friends. Massively unfair to those children whose parents are both working in keyworker roles, or those from single parent keyworker families who need access to full time school if you ask me.

OP posts:
Weepinggreenwillow · 07/06/2020 09:28

Their, not they're.....

OP posts:
Dontiknowit · 07/06/2020 09:30

Why do you think the key worker children won't be taught?
Is that what the school has said?
I have a key worker bubble and I will certainly be teaching them the curriculum. If your school says that won't be happening I'd definitely take it up with the school.

AlexaShutUp · 07/06/2020 09:30

It is a good letter, and I absolutely share your concern about vulnerable children. More needs to be done for this cohort as a matter of urgency.

I also think that there are huge challenges for parents of younger children, who aren't able to be self sufficient in their learning. However, I'd expect older, secondary school kids who are not in the vulnerable categories to be able to manage reasonably well with some sort of blended learning model. My year 10 dd and her friends are definitely still getting "an education" via Google classroom, even though it isn't ideal and they desperately miss their friends. If schools have to make choices about who can attend, I'd rather see enhanced provision for those most at risk, even if it means dd learning from home for a much longer period.

Drivingdownthe101 · 07/06/2020 09:31

Dontiknowit that’s good to hear. How will you manage to teach all the different ages? Our keyworker bubbles are split into key stages.

Punxsutawney · 07/06/2020 09:35

It is a real worry. I work as a member of support staff in a primary so I am back working part time.

My Ds is year 11, so has just been left with nothing. He is autistic and I'm not sure after this long break whether I will get him back to school at all. We have some real concerns about him now as some issues have deteriorated during lockdown. I can't even request that he goes back to school as a child with SEN because in theory he would have just about finished his gcses now. So he no longer really has a school to go to anymore.

To not know when he will be able to return to some kind of education is a concern.

pollyskettles · 07/06/2020 09:36

I'm very reluctant to write to my MP about it. I have had conversations with my DCs school about plans for September and in all honesty I would much prefer to let the school investigate and plan what works for their staff and for their pupils than have them dictated to by a government who don't understand the local community and the needs that they have. Not all communities need the same thing.

If I didn't have the trust in my DCs school to do the right thing for my children then they would not be pupils there. They haven't been the perfect school, of course there are things I would have preferred to be on offer but they are more than good enough. They are doing a more than good enough job in a very difficult situation nowadays.

Brokenchair1 · 07/06/2020 09:37

F and completely agree.

Also agree with pp who mentioned putting up prefabs. Our school has massive fields. How about putting some prefabs and portaloos up? This could have started now. It would have been warm enough for summer and spring term.

I am hugely disappointed in our governments decision over education in this country. It's going to have long term damage on a whole generation.

I'm going to contact my MP.

SarahMused · 07/06/2020 09:40

Mumteedum how long do you want to wait to open universities? Given that this virus will be around for a while and possibly for ever do we shut them for months or years? What are the students going to do, given that there won’t be any jobs about and many courses can’t be run by distance learning? We also still need teachers, Drs, nurses, dentists, vets etc etc so we have to continue those courses and they have to be physically present.
R is a poor measure of risk unless we are clear on the numbers involved. An extreme example but 10 people infect 11, R =1.1, 10,000 infect 5,000 R=.5.

Drivingdownthe101 · 07/06/2020 09:41

If I didn't have the trust in my DCs school to do the right thing for my children then they would not be pupils there

But what they do is completely ruled by what the government tells them they can and can’t do.
I’m a chair of governors. Our headmistress had developed a fantastic, comprehensive plan for getting children back into school, with the best interests of the children at heart. They then got the government guidance, which bore little resemblance to their plan.

SudokuBook · 07/06/2020 09:41

Good letter, I’m going to adapt it as well.

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