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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

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Nat6999 · 08/06/2020 01:07

Ds is Y11, I'm worried that come September he will have been out of learning for nearly 6 months & won't want to go back or will find it very hard to get back in to the learning mentality. That is if sixth form are up & running by September & if he gets the GCSE grades he needs, if he doesn't get the grades, then I don't know what he will do.

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Raphanus3217 · 08/06/2020 06:28

Forgot to say thank you for this thread op. It has been helpful to see we’re not alone with our huge worry for our teens.

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Napqueen1234 · 08/06/2020 06:33

@YounghillKang that’s all a load of balls and outdated sources. The ‘Kawasaki type illness’ is still a HUGE minority of people and hospitals ARE empty of patients. The majority of positive tests are now community patients (coping fine at home) and nursing home residents who are not being admitted (however you feel about that they are not overwhelming the nhs).

OP I have shamelessly copied your letter (have updated with my own info you’ll be glad to know Grin) and it’s been emailed to my MP. Next stage needs to be kids back to school and normal as much as possible. I’d rather that than go to primark or sit in a restaurant.

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Weepinggreenwillow · 08/06/2020 06:45

dont there will NOT be teaching in the keyworker bubble, I have been told this. and to be honest I do not consider this the fault of the teachers. There will be 15 children ranging from Y7 to A level - all doing different subjects. How the hell is a single teacher supposed to teach a lesson on A level drama whilst simultaneously teaching my Y7 child basic maths??? The children in the year groups will be accessing these proper lessons with subject teachers.There are only so many hours in the school day and it just wont be possible for this to happen for the keyworker bubble no matter how skilled the teacher is. I think perhaps it may be possible at primary level but will never work at secondary. But really, this is a minor point and the hwole issue is far more wide reaching than this.

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Weepinggreenwillow · 08/06/2020 06:49

thank you to all wiritng to their MPs It is time we make a stand and fight for our children. They have been pushed well and truly to the bottom of the priority pile and I , for one, am not prepared to sit back and let that happen.

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BackInTime · 08/06/2020 07:39

I can't believe that the headline news is about the debate over whether it's safe for people to fly sitting stuffed together for hours in planes whilst schools are not able to open to educate our children.

Agreed. Education should be a priority not people getting their dose of sun in the Costas. I have friends who were terrified to send their kids back to school but are clamouring for the quarantine restrictions to be lifted so they can go on an all inclusive holiday. Eh right Hmm

Make this country safe enough for people to fully return to work and school and only then consider controlled travel.

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P1ece0fTheWorld · 08/06/2020 07:44

Do you think Mumsnet could launch a campaign too? We seem to be unanimous on this subject. Got to leave for work now but thank you so much for raising this.

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MoreW1ne · 08/06/2020 08:09

I think part of the issue is that no, there isn't a unanimous feeling on the subject. There's just as many people arguing to keep schools restricted as there are asking for fully open (even on these forums which you would have thought might have an obvious bias).

Just like there's just as many wanting flights/holidays as wanting quarrantine. And wanting pubs open now vs closed. And just as many wanting no SD as keeping SD.....

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The80sweregreat · 08/06/2020 08:17

Our local school is bending over backwards to adhere to the rules. A few more years are back today and the key workers have been in the whole time. The senior team leaders have been in all the time and worked really hard to make it work safely and keep it infection free.
I am puzzled that all this has been done but other things like protests are allowed to continue! It seems madness to me.
I know teachers need protecting but so do our young and they deserve an education too. Secondary schools are different I know.

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zafferana · 08/06/2020 08:29

Or contact sports @chocolatviennois Sad, which is what my Y7 DS lives for.

I have written to both my MP and to Gavin Williamson. If you care about this everyone on this thread, please write too. The government can easily ignore people who are silent, much harder to ignore a barrage of correspondence all saying versions of the same thing.

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BernardsarenotalwaysSaints · 08/06/2020 08:39

I agree with you Weepinggreenwillow & wrote to my MP & GW on Friday, it's great to hear so many others are too, one letter makes little difference but lots do let them know it's a commonly held opinion. FWIW my 89yo Grandmother has written saying the same thing, she worked in education for 40 years & is shocked at the way children are being treated.

I've waved a very excited 4yo off for his first day back today & have 3 older dc who are happy for him but muttering about the unfairness of the situation.

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StayAlert · 08/06/2020 08:49

Thank you for sharing your letter op I'll be using it as a basis to write to my MP.

Am shocked there has not been more effort and that there is seemingly no plan to get children back to some sort of education ASAP.

If we can build nightingale hospitals in a few weeks, get the army doing testing, get thousands of med students and ex- nhs staff working in hospitals, get shops open by 15 June spend billions on furlough to avoid redundancies and hardship etc then why on earth has more not been done to support and plan for a return to education? Why have the government not been more creative in how to solve the problems schools say they will face and chucked some money at trying to resolve issues?

Both DC schools have been pretty crap tbh. 10 weeks into lockdown and we're still getting sent just links to bbc bitesize (primary) and tasks set on google classrooms (high school). No phone call to see how they are, no zoom lessons, no work marked or feedback given. DH and I both have to work from home- employers won't furlough us as there's work to be done- so we're limited in what support we can provide. DC2 really struggling with not seeing friends and desperate to go back to school even if it looks and feels different. TBH he'd be happy to sit on the school field 2m away from everyone chatting to a random person in full ppe if it just meant he could do something different to what he's been doing the last 10 weeks!

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Spikeyball · 08/06/2020 09:17

I hope all this concern for the education of ALL children continues when this is over. It certainly didn't used to be there.

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bettybyebye · 08/06/2020 09:49

Thanks for starting this thread OP, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I actually wrote to my MP on this issue a week or so ago (no response as yet) but your OP has prompted me to write to him again, and to Gavin Williamson

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bettybyebye · 08/06/2020 09:50

Second letter to my MP also prompted by the fact that my reception aged child was supposed to start back at school today, but the school decided on Saturday night that they would no longer be opening as planned 😡

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iamapixie · 08/06/2020 09:56

Thank you OP. Great post

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greenstream · 08/06/2020 10:18

It's simples for Secondary = zoom/teams/meet up live lessons (and source or make a safe, european or uk app to do this in the long term)

If the gov can give out £50 "mend your old bike for covid" vouchers then it should be giving out £50-100 "get-a -tablet" vouchers to all Secondary schoolchildren. And strike a deal with tablet makers/sellers.

Our DC have had live secondary school since March. That's 12 weeks. You do the work at your desk on paper with your pencil case and calculator and use the tablet to take photos and to see your teacher and class and the work. Zoom is so smoothly adapted to lend itself to Teaching but there could/should be other apps available. It can be done just via an internet link invitation for each class without even downloading the app.

Live online school is also good for mental health as DC see the teacher, see their friends, have their day structured, are accountable, the head can pop in to certain classes, they can share documents, they have a laugh with their friends, they can do sport and mindfulness, they can do clubs and charity work, they do exams and have reports. You use a camera to take photos of your work.

It is the Virus which is keeping schools closed, not a mindset or bad management. It is good management of the health emergency to keep schools closed until the virus has passed: look at Asian countries.

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Chaotic45 · 08/06/2020 10:49

@greenstream have you read the thread? How is it not bad management of the situation whereby your school can provide such an excellent system but the vast majority of schools have nothing like this in place? Please don't pretend that anything Like this level of schooling is being provided for most children in the state sector.

Have you read the thread, and other threads about what is happening in most schools?

We want the government to step in to set standards and assist schools in providing a decent standard of education, either at hime or in school.

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Alex50 · 08/06/2020 11:05

I have copied and sent to my mp, thank you op.

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majesticallyawkward · 08/06/2020 12:50

@greenstream so because your kids are doing ok and their school has a decent system in place that's ok? Never mind the millions if others kids who do not have this. Read the thread, or any of the threads about this, it's not the norm. Some teachers have been told not to do online lessons at all.

It's also not always so good for the dc, my friends ds has suffered an awful lapse in MH because of the stress of lockdown, zoom lessons, trying to do school work at home and the isolation, he is 13 years old and has horrific anxiety, the anorexia he's worked so hard to fight has taken over him again.

My own dd has had 2 emails with some links on them from school and that's it.

My friends who is a secondary school teacher was one of those told not to do online lessons and has around 50% engagement from her students for the work she sets.

As it is, it's not working. Children have been failed massively because no one is willing to take a reasoned and proportional approach to the situation.

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BackInTime · 08/06/2020 12:52

@greenstream Is this state or private? The vast majority of state schools are vehemently against Zoom or most forms of live online lessons preferring to upload work or links to stuff online or PowerPoint lessons instead.

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Chaotic45 · 08/06/2020 13:22

@majesticallyawkward and @BackInTime thank you for confirming that I'm not loosing my marbles!

I've been so disappointed by the provision at my DC's secondary school. I do not want to enter into what could be misconstrued as teacher bashing so I won't share details, but I do feel that had clear guidance been provided by the government that maybe schools like ours would have found a way to offer a better solution than it has.

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Weepinggreenwillow · 08/06/2020 13:49

greenstream and what about the many children who dont have access to a tablet or laptop, or who have to share with siblings, or live in areas with poor wifi (yes they still exist!) And what about those with additinal needs that would need support to engage with the lessons, or those that are now struggling with their mental health and lacking in motivaiton to engage. And those whose parents are working outside the home who cant support their dc to engage with the lessons?

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MrsBlondie · 08/06/2020 13:51

Thank you. I'm.pleased I'm not the only one with these fears.
Ive written to my MP and GW too.

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Gwynfluff · 08/06/2020 14:04

Our DC have had live secondary school since March. That's 12 weeks. You do the work at your desk on paper with your pencil case and calculator and use the tablet to take photos and to see your teacher and class and the work.

We are talking about the great majority of state schools who are not doing this. In my own kids’ school - 12 weeks in and the teachers are Having CPD on online teaching, including how to put a voiceover on a PowerPoint. This is not an isolated example.

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