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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:
enjoyingSun · 07/06/2020 12:27

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

That's nice.

I didn't have a choice with primary schools it was were the places were when we moved here and TBH there all pretty much in the same place currently with low work levels.

The secondary is very different place to where we applied to with DD1 Y10 - huge upheaval - merry go round of SLT. Nearby schools also all have problems and lack of spaces. We figure there were enough good staff and enough home support to get them through GCSE wasn't factoring in a pandemic and school shutting.

My children including my Y10 are getting increasing amount of token work - so yes very worried and have been for a while.

I do wonder if parents getting in touch with the Welsh education secretary is what led to them trying to get them back to school this year so getting in touch again is I think a good idea though waiting to see what's supposed to be happening.

We haven't heard yet from our schools - but looking at other posters experinces it may just be 4 days before the end of term but I supposed at least there are eyes on the most vulnerable pupils.

Drivingdownthe101 · 07/06/2020 12:27

Year 1 started back at DD’s school last week, 34 out of a possible 40 went back.

greenstream · 07/06/2020 12:30

OP, your letter to you MP is excellent.

We’re from a country that had SARs and the shadow of SARs has been ever present since then and can be seen in habits and cleaning routines everywhere.

Every Spring or so there is a threat of a new respiratory novel virus. THE SCHOOLS ALWAYS CLOSE. It is a basic measure like mask wearing. It is very, very effective. For covid we’re had just 4 deaths despite a border with China.

The Virus is the cause of school closure, not a mindset or bad management.

What then to do ? Well, when our schools close Secondaries have online, virtual school, which is live, with teachers teaching the pupils. Exams continue to be held (in distance settings with masks and hand gel). Once the virus has passed, the youngest go back plus those who have exams coming up.

enjoyingSun · 07/06/2020 12:35

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.


I wonder as workplaces increasing unfurlough people and start wanting more staff in if that will start to change.

greenstream · 07/06/2020 12:35

In my country (which had SARs in 2003) we have a world-beating education system, consistently ranked in Top 5 worldwide and we have approx 40% of the population who live in social government housing and earn tiny monthly wages.

So social standing and income are not barriers to good, online teaching/learning in Secondary during covid SARs. In my memory, our schools have closed 4 or 5 times for many weeks in Spring in recent years.

We are however a country which highly prizes schooling and learning and high achievement, it is a cultural thing.

enjoyingSun · 07/06/2020 12:41

So social standing and income are not barriers to good, online teaching/learning in Secondary during covid SARs. In my memory, our schools have closed 4 or 5 times for many weeks in Spring in recent years.

There does seem to be an attitude in UK that it is a barrier - I think that why my DC schools aren't setting more because universal access isn't looking possible so ones that do or could are collateral damage.

I get the school are in a terrible position - but doesn't stop us worrying about our children's education in mean time. Given Y10 will be sitting national GCSE exams against schools who are managaing to teach on-line - it's really hard to see how my Y10 isn't going to be disadvantaged.

VideographybyLouBloom · 07/06/2020 12:42

Thank you OP. I will be taking inspiration from your letter and writing to my MP this week. I am worried sick about the impact on my DDs. DD2 has gone back to school two days a week but I am having to cope with the deteriorating mental health of DD1 (8) who is in tears every day because she misses school, her friends, her teachers and her life.

Notsafetogo · 07/06/2020 12:44

@enjoyingSun I’m hoping that numbers will increase once parents see some children coming back and being ok. I work in an area of high deprivation, 66%FSM so a lot of our parents don’t have the pressure of going back to work. Maybe that’s the difference. Thing is we have vulnerable children we’d really like to be seeing whose parents have said no to coming back.

0v9c99f9g9d939d9f9g9h8h · 07/06/2020 12:48

Look at the death toll and the R number though. What do you actually expect them to do? It's a nightmare scenario and you're expecting someone to wave a wand. Your childcare arrangements don't even come into this when there are so many other unfolding disasters and moving parts. People have a right to all sorts of things that are suddenly very complex to honour. I think you imagine you're complaining to the sun god, or something. Life is not fair and sometimes that isn't something anyone can change for us.

Lemons1571 · 07/06/2020 12:50

@greenstream what happens with pupils who’s family can’t afford a laptop? Or those who don’t have access to the computer during the day as parents are wfh and need it 9-5? Or maybe these issues don’t exist if you have a better funded education system than the UK?

penguinsbegin · 07/06/2020 12:50

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

0v9c99f9g9d939d9f9g9h8h · 07/06/2020 12:50

I'm uncomfortable that we in the UK are not more outraged that so many people have died who would have lived in another country where different political decisions were made. That was round 1. Attitudes like this make it clear that you are happy for round 2 to go a similar way. It will backfire for your children because there is no shortcut to this and no need to let people die. It's appalling.

Spikeyball · 07/06/2020 12:51

Your children don't have a right to be in school OP. A right to an education yes but not school.

NeverTwerkNaked · 07/06/2020 12:53

Thank you this is a really good letter I shall tweak and send it to our MP (but she is a raging brexiteer so I don't hold out much hope

thunderthighsohwoe · 07/06/2020 12:54

As a primary teacher I’m keen to get my children back in school. I teach Year 3, and am getting concerned about gaps widening. We’re lucky to be in an area where there is a high level of parental engagement and support BUT many of our parents have demanding jobs so haven’t been able to put much time into home learning.

This two part system cannot continue for children, parents OR teachers - we are currently working an unsustainable amount of hours to plan for and teach bubbles, and plan/resource/film/feed back to our own class online. Each night this week I worked until at least 11pm after putting the toddler to bed, and spent a huge chunk of yesterday catching up too. Yes, teachers usually do work these kinds of hours but not doing the same things twice! It seems like a poor use of time and energy. We can’t even plan ahead to try and improve things further, because we have no idea what we’re going to be directed to do in even three weeks time.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that it needs to come from the government, who have created this issue in the first place with years and years of picking apart the education system, creating huge inequalities across the country. Many children won’t even get much out of Oak or Bitesize because the curriculum has become so vague that different things are taught at different times in different year groups 🤦🏻‍♀️

Weepinggreenwillow · 07/06/2020 12:57

don't because that is what I have been told by one of the deputy head teachers when I rung up to ask about keyworker provision. Of course, no one knows for sure what will happen in Septemeber - as there is not firm plan/guidance but basically if it is still a mix of keyworker provision full time and other years in part time, then the keyowrker full time children will stay in that "bubble" with one or two members of staff. Currently their are 15 keyworker children attending ranging from Y7 to Y10. There is no way that a single teacher can deliver the appropriate curriculum and lessons to that group of children is there? For example my dd in Y9 has already picked her GCSE options and started the curriculum, she is very academic and in top set for everything. My ds in Y7 is not at all academic and was having extra support for literacy. How can a single teacher deliver an effective English lesson that would meet both their needs ???? Not to mention that the teache rmight be a maths teacher, or a PE teacher, or a music teacher - expected to deliver effective teahing across the full curriculum in all subjects for children ranging from Y7 to possibly Y13 - not going to happen is it!

spiky They are not getting an education though! And according to what I have been told so far from school they wont be getting on education September either. For how long do I sit back and accept this lack of education for my chilren? another 6 months? A year? 2 years?

OP posts:
RedRum27 · 07/06/2020 12:57

OP your letter is great and actually highlights where our questions need to be directed to - the government. Another poster said the silence from the government tells us a lot which I agree with...there is little planning or seems to be very little!

I’m currently Head of Year 10 now and it’s been a crazy few days organising and putting plans in place which I hope will be successful. But more and more parents are asking about September plans and it’s not great having to say “we are waiting for clearer guidance from the government”. The parameters which we are working in at the minute are quite tight. I miss my year group! They’ve lost some great opportunities (work experience reward trips etc) and really want the government to tell us what’s happening for September...fingers are tightly crossed.

Weepinggreenwillow · 07/06/2020 12:59

In answer to other points - yes please all feel free to use any bits of the letter you like. Also good points about sending also to educaiton secretary I will do that, and will sign up for twitter movement metioned by pp , thank you.

OP posts:
Weepinggreenwillow · 07/06/2020 13:01

oh, and my dc school is fantastic and I have full faith in them. The trouble is, as I was als told by the deputy head when I spoke to her, there is so little guidance from Government, and when it does come it is vague and contradictory and then replaced by almost daily amendments which make it impossible for school to put anything in place.

OP posts:
RedRum27 · 07/06/2020 13:04

@Weepinggreenwillow

oh, and my dc school is fantastic and I have full faith in them. The trouble is, as I was als told by the deputy head when I spoke to her, there is so little guidance from Government, and when it does come it is vague and contradictory and then replaced by almost daily amendments which make it impossible for school to put anything in place.

You are right about that. We have plans in place for tomorrow for Year 10/12 based on government guidance so letters were sent out, parents contacted all go ahead...only for the government to then change the dates during half term in one of their daily briefings...so new letters, new information sent out...hence the busy week rearranging and coordinating the plan! We are really hoping the government don’t keep too-ong and fro-ing with dates because like you said makes it harder to execute a plan! We’ll see :)
HelloMissus · 07/06/2020 13:13

Brilliant letter

Chaotic45 · 07/06/2020 13:15

Great letter OP. This issue has been swept under the carpet and a ridicule assumption that home schooling can replace usual schooling has been made.

My kids secondary provision has been woeful. Not a single piece of feedback or assistance.

Y10 return next Monday in bubbles having one morning of 2.5 hours tuition each a week. Apparently they cannot attend in the afternoons so that classrooms can be deep cleaned. Cleaning cannot be done later than this as they don't have cleaners who will work last 2.30pm. They will Remain in one classroom.

The school Is enormous with only years 7-10, gazillions of classrooms. So why only 3 groups of 15 children can return for only 3 hours a week I can't fathom. However I'm sure school feel this is the right thing to do and in the absence of any guidance from the government they can do what they like.

NeverTwerkNaked · 07/06/2020 13:18

@Spikeyball a lot of us don't mind whether the education is in school/remote/a mixture. We are just tired of our children not getting any education full stop.

SpeedofaSloth · 07/06/2020 13:21

I agree OP. I may write to my own MP in similar terms if there is no news soon. My DS is going up to secondary in September, the lack of news on transition arrangements is now a real worry for us.

SpeedofaSloth · 07/06/2020 13:22

I also think that the inability to socially distance in many overcrowded NHS workplaces is driving the push to get staff into surgical masks. Fine, let's do that for other workplaces too.

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