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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:
KnobChops · 07/06/2020 09:42

@AlexaShutUp

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.

I would not be happy with ‘blended’ (who comes up with this bollocks) learning continuing, nor would a lot of parents who have to work outside of the home (or will have to soon as furlough ends). It’s not in anyway a replacement for supervised, inspiring eduction. And it’s totally unreasonable to expect children to be left at home on their own for months on end.
Waxonwaxoff0 · 07/06/2020 09:43

Great letter. I'm hugely concerned about what will happen in September.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 09:44

Alexa not all kids are studious workers and need support to study, even before lockdown. They are kids so don’t deserve to be penalised for that. The I’m all right Jack because my kid gets on with it attitude is shit. Even before lockdown need will be huge in a variety of ways and often undocumented. Post lockdown need will be even bigger, many will have 2 full time working parents, kids will have got demotivated, mental health for parents and kids will have deteriorated, jobs will have been lost......

There is no way you can dictate need.

HotWatBot · 07/06/2020 09:44

Thanks OP, I'm going to do this too.

Travelban · 07/06/2020 09:44

I agree entirely with the letter.

I also agree that it is unfair to leave this up to schools when they are left to deal with huge issues and no additional funding etc...

Finally, I also agree that education for older teenagers who are facing exams next year is a real issue and no one you can easily cram for.

In addition to this, children have had months in front of screens, mine have all suffered headaches at different points and a number of meltdowns. Dh and I are both working full time and they are doing lots of screen based homeworking plus more screens for socialising and watching films...

Even with the odd walk, baking, playing a game outside, it's a hell of a lot more screen time they would ever have and it is a big worry for their health (mental and physical).

Speeding201700 · 07/06/2020 09:45

I am SO thankful more people are thinking about this now. I am disgusted at the prolonged school closures. I am a teacher and a mother of 5.

There is a teitterovement called #usforthem which is worth looking at and joining

I am amazed people are not protesting about this. I hope it will come.

Speeding201700 · 07/06/2020 09:45

That should have said 'twitter movement'

majesticallyawkward · 07/06/2020 09:46

Really good letter op, and I think I will also write to my mp as I share your concerns.

It does seem like the government have set this arbitrary 2m rule which is stopping things like schools reopening but no one is willing to step up and say that the 2m is, in fact, arbitrary and can be reduced so that we can start to get lives back on track.
The impact of all the lockdown measures are now so much worse than the risk posed by covid but we still have the hysterical masses screaming murder.

Yes there has been a tragic number of deaths, but look at is as 40,000 out of 67,000,000 to put it in perspective.
Or 40,000 covid deaths vs 4,000,000 children living in poverty suffering because of lockdown, or the 700% increase in calls to refuge (the domestic violence helpline) and doubled DV killings since lockdown started. Then the MH crisis for adults and children and it's just not a proportional reaction anymore.

Escolar · 07/06/2020 09:46

Good letter OP.

PicsInRed · 07/06/2020 09:47

Great letter.

OP, I would direct this letter to the Education Secretary, Health Secretary (due to the impact of your key work as well as the PM.

I would also make it an open letter to same, and submit to The Times - they frequently publish such letters.

💐

Gwynfluff · 07/06/2020 09:47

Agree completely. Also could have used keyworker provision but didn’t. Couple of teachers trying to offer some stuff via teams - 10 weeks in. But on the day it was offered 14yo was actually up and ready. If they can’t go back in September, it will be awful. I work full time from home doing my own job remotely.

Delatron · 07/06/2020 09:49

Great letter OP and I agree with all of it!

rosy71 · 07/06/2020 09:50

I am a primary school teacher with 2 secondary age children (year 7 and year 10) and I am becoming increasingly angry about the lack of educational provision. I feel as though there is no plan and no one knows what's going on. Announcements are made with, as far as I can see, no consultation. Children cannot get this time back. It just isn't good enough.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 09:51

Bet your bottom dollar half the cabinet will have their kids in private schools where teaching, small classes, support is happening and be more likely to happen under gov guidelines due to better facilities. I suspect this is partly why they are being so lax.

Where is the Ed secretary? Those of us in primary schools are busting a gut to give primary aged kids an education. This past week we all pulled together hugely. Not once was it mentioned at briefing, no Ed secretary either.

Lemons1571 · 07/06/2020 09:52

I think the gov departments will be planning, but not extensively. I suspect they are hoping R doesn’t rise much in the next few weeks with the 3 primary years in, then they can go ooh look it’s safe, get years 2-5 back in as well. 1m distancing, maybe masks for older kids, bosh off you go.

Also think they are banking on the Oxford vaccine to take the edge off the numbers, being rolled out in the autumn. Might not be perfect but if it reduces the death count to that of flu, that’ll probably be “good enough”. So they don’t want to spend too much time and money on extensive plans that become obsolete (like the nightingales might end up being).

Current year 10 will probably end up with a mish mash of GCSE’s - lots of question choice, grade boundaries shifted, maybe some teacher assessment. Most are likely to get grades roughly where they would have anyway.

And then in 5+ years recruiters looking at cv’s won’t be able to remember which gcse years were affected anyway.

TeenTraumaTrials · 07/06/2020 09:56

I'm in Scotland where there has been some 'guidance' published on this. It is very woolly though talking about 'reconnecting', focusing on wellbeing and methods of assessment that are not stressful!

I realise that there will be some kids who have had an awful time and will need a huge amount of support but it seems they are skewing everything towards making sure they are ok and not considering the kids who are desperate to get back to something akin to proper work. I fear a term of little actual learning.

My eldest is going into S4 so exam year but I really wonder whether they are going to be able to set exams when the guidance says that the curriculum should be adapted locally.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 09:57

Err Lemons before that happens kids need to get into 6th form, have learnt enough to have a good foundation for A levels, get decent enough grades to get into decent unis.

Years 10,11,12 and 13 are being shafted. What’s the betting the next few years will see fewer state pupils in Russell group unis and at Oxbridge.

ihearttc · 07/06/2020 09:58

Brilliant letter, I’ve never contacted my MP before but you have inspired me to send a letter as well.

I’m a TA with 2 children, one in Year 10 and the other in Year 4. DS1’s school is opening for them to have a meeting with their form tutor for an hour. Not an hour a week but one hour full stop between now and the end of July. He started off in March very enthusiastic and was doing way more work than he was set and now he has lost all enthusiasm. He is a bright boy with great predicted grades and quite self motivated for a 15 year old boy, so if he has lost motivation then I dread to think what other students are doing. It’s too long to sustain learning at home completely independently. He is doing GCSE PE which is going to suffer because he can’t do his practicals (he picked 2 summer sports).
I’ve been in school on a rota from the very start and DS2 has been at home with my husband. He is now going to have to go to work at some point yet I can’t take DS2 with me as the keyworker bubble is full. He is Y4 so no chance of him going back this term. We can probably manage until September but if there isn’t full time schooling for everyone by then, then the school will lose at least 4 of its TA’s as we all have children.

reefedsail · 07/06/2020 10:03

@Drivingdownthe101 How will you manage to teach all the different ages? Our keyworker bubbles are split into key stages.

I teach a specialist class (very able children). I usually have about 8 children between Y3-Y6. I can teach them perfectly effectively and they do very well in Y6 SATs. There are also tiny village schools up and down the country that have a whole Key Stage in a class. It's a different skill set for the teacher, but perfectly doable in primary. I don't know about secondary though.

@Raphanus3217 Bet your bottom dollar half the cabinet will have their kids in private schools where teaching, small classes, support is happening and be more likely to happen under gov guidelines due to better facilities. I suspect this is partly why they are being so lax.

My DS' Prep has already all but guaranteed they will be open to all full time in September as they already have small class sizes, excess space and higher ratio of teachers. It will be an outrage if kids in Independent schools get this and state schools are left on part time.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 10:04

At the end of the day staff will put their own children first. have 4 children in the 4 exam years. All are being massively impacted.

Past September I am not leaving them all at home alone 5 days a week. I’m just not. Their motivation, mental health and fitness has plummeted. Groups of teens are roaming our town.

If many make the same decision as me primaries will be able to take even fewer children than they are already.

Mumteedum · 07/06/2020 10:06

@SarahMused good question! I want to get back to it.. A huge part of me does but I can't say I'm not worried by being in prolonged contact in my particular circumstances. Of course, we can't leave unis shut and we won't be. I think what I'm finding hard is the lack of leadership. The VC is driven by money and yes, there is the reality that without student numbers jobs will go. But it is not a good feeling when you feel leaders everywhere are lacking. If they had a handle on the local rates properly, then testing and tracing, then considered how to allow population to move around country.. That's one thing.

Sadly that isn't where I feel we are. So inevitably, we'll get back to it sooner rather than later for the economy but I'd feel much better if I felt able and supported to risk assess for myself.

Fluffyglitterystuff · 07/06/2020 10:08

Really good thread. It's so refreshing to read this.

Before this pandemic you were virtually criminalised for your child missing a few days of school to take a holiday. Now all of a sudden it's absolutely fine that they will miss a term or more of school.

I'm absolutely terrible at articulating things, but I'm so worried and I'm also worried about my 12yo state of mind because right now he's completely isolated.

MrsArchchancellorRidcully · 07/06/2020 10:09

Mischance explain to me how I get my 8 year old son to engage and do stuff at home when he hates online/remote learning. I cannot get him to engage and I am working full time from home. I have to rely on tech to keep him quiet whilst I make business calls.

He adores school and was doing very well. He's not read a book in weeks 😢

CKBJ · 07/06/2020 10:09

Have already posted this on another thread.

I do believe education will be up and running to full capacity in primary schools by the new term (England) minus the children who are shielding. The government are already pushing for the reduction in 2m distancing rule, not due to science but economical reasons. They will reduce it, very possibly end of June. They have also said masks/face coverings on public transport are mandatory. Pupils who travel to school will be expected to follow suit (over 5s I believe). Assemblies won’t run, children will be expected to stay in their bubbles of 30, including staggered lunch and break, encourage outdoor learning where possible, extra hand washing and staggered start and finish times ensuring the “normal” amount of hours are met.

Secondary schools is where the biggest headache lies. A blended learning approach is the way forward, week in week out from Yr 8 with Yr7 in full time. Teachers would still be available online at the “week out” timetabled slots. Many secondary schools have a 2week timetable already and this would need adapting to accommodate home learning. Very possibly be shot down here but going to say it... a lot of our our curriculum is spoon fed to the pupils. A proportion of the pupils sit there, nod their heads in the right places, make notes but are not passionate about learning. In body they are in the classroom but their mind is somewhere else. They see school as primarily a place to socialise, “have a good laugh”. We as a nation fail our students because independent learning skills are not taught and passion and desire to learn is stripped from them at an early age (very likely by yr1/2) when they are made to sit and be static for hours on end, read and write etc. This needs to change.

Secondary age pupils can achieve with a blended learning approach but the current cohorts are not prepared for it. It will be a steep, steep learning curve for them but put them in good stead for adult life. The next 2months should be spent getting pupils and parents onboard, sorting out equipment needs, addressing concerns and pupils who haven’t chosen their “options” need to do so.

There are likely to be many pitfalls with the above but more than what the government is coming up with at the moment!

areyoubeingserviced · 07/06/2020 10:15

Totally agree Op.
Great letter
I am really concerned about my year 10 ds.
I just don’t know what is going to happen in September .
My year 13 dd is worried about how her exams will be assessed and doesn’t know if there will be Autumn exams.
The truth is that the government hasn’t got a clue and therefore there is not a plan,

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