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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:
Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 10:18

The idea of all primaries in full time but not secondaries for those of us with children in secondaries won’t work.

middleager · 07/06/2020 10:20

It's a great letter. My year 9s were taking some GCSEs early in Y10 and I know other Y9s who are doing the same, so I have lots of concerns.

I work with schools too and my concern is directed at the Govt.

middleager · 07/06/2020 10:22

Have just signed the #UsforThem#NotOK petition thanks to pp.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 10:23

If teens aren’t in school they will get together so they might as well be in school. They’ve had enough. Many are seeing their futures go tits up, feeling isolated, demotivated etc

Enough is enough and yes I place this fiasco firmly at the government’s door too.

Punxsutawney · 07/06/2020 10:24

CK my Ds really struggles to study and work at home. He sees school and home as two very different places. Because he is year 11 we have not really had to engage him with home learning since March. Things had been extremely stressful though before the gcses were cancelled as he was pretty much refusing to study at home.

Going back in September to online learning and home study would not really work for him. That's not because he is lazy or we are unsupportive parents it's because he's autistic and he finds it really hard.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 10:26

My year 11 is demotivated and miserable too.

ChippityDoDa · 07/06/2020 10:27

I’ve already done it, expressing huge concern on the same issues. Your letter is better than mine though!

LabiaMinoraPissusFlapus · 07/06/2020 10:28

I am going to write to my MP too. I am a keyworker so my children attend but two of them are not getting an education at all. The younger too, at a different school, are being educated to some extent, and being assisted with what has been set by their teacher for the children at home. Goodness knows what my yr 7 child does at school, but it isn't even the work the teachers have set to do online as they aren't allowed to touch the computers! The school my eldest attends (year 9) seems to have a new approach commencing tomorrow which looks reassuring, so I really hope this works out. I am very worried about this. Thank you for posting your letter.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 10:28

GCSEs are often a big learning curve for many. Even with that curve expecting kids to get decent Alevels from hours of self learning is a massive ask dependant on the child. Without it’s totally unrealistic.

myworkingtitle · 07/06/2020 10:28

The keyworker bubble thing is a bit weird. Our school are doing it too - so keyworker children are in a bubble of 15 kids ranging from 3-11 without any learning.

Dontiknowit · 07/06/2020 10:30

@Drivingdownthe101 the bubbles are small enough that we can easily do what we call spilt inputs. We can teach a small group while the rest do something independent, then swap so we make full use of our teaching time and children get teaching and tasks appropriate to them.
Teachers are also used to teaching a huge range of ability.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 10:32

I’d be interested to know how many teachers can teacher higher levels of the year 6 curriculum off pat when they haven’t taught it for years.

Teaching a concept to a struggling child in a class with a variety of ages and a variety of work set would be hard at the best of times.

Sockwomble · 07/06/2020 10:41

Thousands of children with sen have been without adequate education for years some being out of school completely for years. I wonder where the concern for vulnerable children was then.

zafferana · 07/06/2020 10:42

Thank you OP. I will be writing to my MP and may 'borrow' a few bits from your letter, if I may? My MP is not a Tory and she's been bloody great throughout this pandemic, so I expect she will be happy to question the government on this.

CKBJ · 07/06/2020 10:46

Punxsutawney I appreciate what you are saying. However school as it is doesn’t work for all pupils. As with a lot of things one size doesn’t fit all.

Zoflorabore · 07/06/2020 10:51

Thank you op, I’ve been feeling pretty helpless about the situation. I have a year 4 and a year 12 here, obviously not too concerned about my dd who is in year 4, it’s my ds in year 12 that’s worrying me sick.

He has Aspergers and anxiety. Started at a huge sixth form college in another borough as his school didn’t have a sixth form.

He is doing A levels in photography, drama and media studies. He didn’t study media studies at GCSE but did do photography and drama and got grade 9’s. He is massively struggling with his workload, his anxiety is off the scale and he has put quite a bit of weight on after loosing 6st over the last 18 months.

His college have been excellent to be fair. They have lessons on teams and his tutors are brilliant with him but he needs routine and structure and he’s isolated and also petrified of catching CV.

I think the exam years have been thrown under a bus. I hope to god that get some special dispensation for missing a huge chunk of year 12 work.

When college eventually opens, ds will be traveling in on a designated college bus which isn’t too busy but the actual college will have around 2,500 pupils. I worry more about his mental health to be honest and even suggested he repeats the year which he won’t entertain.

The government’s lack of voice here is very worrying. This generation is going to suffer long past this virus.

Raphanus3217 · 07/06/2020 11:02

And school is very much supposed to be one size fits all.Hmm

Wasn’t aware that schools aren’t supposed to be catering for all needs. I was of the impression it’s quite the reverse. Schools are catering to all
kinds of need day in and day out.

DateLoaf · 07/06/2020 11:05

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.


Confused I did not realise this about when schools went back. They still won’t be teaching the key workers’ children, just childcare?!
Also, it’s unfortunately not like being able to build extra hospital capacity for the government to build extra schools. Schools need particular types of sites with safe outdoor space to play in and so on. New COVID hub hospitals are somewhere you go for the best possible treatment for your condition as a patient independently of where your family is located. Schools need to be located in the community to fit in with children’s needs and also the other commitments their parents have. We are not supposed to be using public transport unnecessarily and also long commutes to school are very hard on children and parents and will result in lower attendance. I don’t have a solution but appreciate you raising the concern OP.

PumpkinPie2016 · 07/06/2020 11:13

As a secondary teacher and mother tona Y1 child, I completely agree with you OP (and others on this thread).

The current situation is untenable and the government need to do something so that schools can effectively plan for September.

Even the most studious children at our school are now demotivated, bored, fed up and just want to get back to school. As a teacher who holds a senior position, I dread to think how much 'steadying the ship' will be required come September!

I worry for all children, particularly those in Y10-Y13 whose exam preparation time is massively disrupted. I worry for those who are demotivated and fed up, those whose home lives are not ideal. I feel for parents who, through no fault of their own are unable to sit and work with their children.

I am desperately hoping we can open normally in September-perhaps with no trips/assemblies/visitors in but at least normal lessons.

MsTSwift · 07/06/2020 11:19

Thank you for this thread. I will be writing to our mp too. The primaries in our city have given up on any education. I get accused of “teacher bashing” but it’s a wider issue than individuals

listsandbudgets · 07/06/2020 11:42

Brilliant letter OP. I think I will follow your example though our local MP has a reputation of not responding to people and if he does he will just blame the government ( Labour MP)

The Tory MPs will probably give links to bbc bite size and Oak academy

listsandbudgets · 07/06/2020 11:58

Ah just looked at my local MPs twitter feed.

  • Hes anti school return (bad)
  • Hes pro BLM ( Good)
  • He mainly campaigns in one specific interest matter that relates to a small and specific community ( bad)
  • He broke lockdown in a massive way and Labour just let it go ( bad)
  • Hes pro small business (good)



Over all glad I didn't vote for him
Drivingdownthe101 · 07/06/2020 11:59

My local MP is, unfortunately, an absolute fuckwit.

pollyskettles · 07/06/2020 12:14

@Drivingdownthe101

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.

I know, I've seen the government guidance. The government are setting the guidance but schools are working on how they implement it aren't they? Like fitting screens, deciding how social distancing is going to work in secondary schools which have more space (though not enough I expect) and so on. The small details which will protect the pupils most are down to the school leadership.

If the government tell a school they can't have PPE and screens do they have to comply?
Notsafetogo · 07/06/2020 12:26

@okiedokieme just on your point about a national conversation about the risks people are willing to take, I think that the fact that only 11 out of my 53 nursery children will be returning when we reopen tomorrow says that people are not willing to take the risk at all.
Sorry if this has been said already I haven’t read the whole thread.

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