Teachers announce boycott of primary school re-opening in England over Covid fears – BBC News

the government is coming under intense pressure to scrap plans to reopen primary schools in england on monday due to fears over the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus the uk's largest teaching union says its members shouldn't go back to work and head teachers are taking legal action to force the government to explain why it thinks it's safe to reopen primaries outside london and parts of the south east the department for education says schools will implement appropriate safety measures to help mitigate the risk of transmission here's our education correspondent dan johnson children and teachers were amongst those invited for tests at charlton's football ground today one way to help keep the virus out of schools but will it be enough some think things are out of control and they want schools to stay closed teaching unions say staff are at risk we know that our members of our union got sick some of them died over the christmas period so there is the concern for our members there's also the concern for parents and grandparents and we don't think it's safe we think there should be a period of closure to get those cases down london's primary school children will all stay off after a u-turn ended the patchwork of partial closures so harrison's got a fortnight at home we're not going back to school and we're going to have to do home learning what do you think about that not very good because i want to see my friends and mom and dad have the challenge of finding childcare it all seems very last minute really and it's all very confusing and they keep chopping and changing which makes it very hard to plan teachers are also being tested in liverpool tier three where schools are due to open although scientists advised closures could help reduce the spread of the virus officials say there's no evidence scores themselves aren't safe i don't feel they should close because i feel just as safe in school as i would do anywhere i feel the children have missed a lot of education as it is the new strain has come out and what we're seeing happening in london was how like it was happening with us we all clicked you know we had the extra testing brought in earlier on london didn't now they're closing i think we should all be just doing the same i don't feel like they should stay closed our rate's a lot lower isn't it and the school that i work at and the head teacher there she's amazing and she's put everything in place to protect staff parents and children but in some parts of the country council leaders are now calling for their schools to stay shut we've had a sharp increase in the cases we'll be approaching at 500 per 100 000 people in the next few days and that's following the pattern of the places that have already been told that the primary schools should remain closed there's now a legal challenge to see the government's basis for reopening primary schools on monday in wales and northern ireland the return was already delayed a week in scotland it's two weeks there is a lot for the government to consider here the rising transmission rates the pressure on the nhs and the demographics in different communities it's always said keeping children off school would be a last resort but there is growing pressure to extend these closures beyond london and parts of the south east and teachers are calling for decisions to be made quickly but clearly a phased return is planned for england's secondary schools starting a week on monday with the hope that mass testing will limit disruption and minimise online learning despite the downsides of that it's already a reality for many children and possibly beyond the next two weeks dan johnson bbc news in south east london our political correspondent chris mason is here with me uh chris we've had reversals of policy in the pandemic on education before are we likely to see another u-turn in this regard as you say clive president suggests that that is entirely possible and there are two factors tonight which point to the fact that the government isn't entirely in control of what happens next firstly local authorities as we heard there making their own minds up so we saw the decision taken in brighton birmingham city council saying they will support head teachers who decide to move learning to a to to remote to being done remotely for the next couple of weeks so firstly local authorities secondly teaching unions they are meeting this weekend they are coordinating their actions the national education union the biggest of them all saying well you know maybe maybe the solution here is what has to happen is teachers simply have to say we shouldn't go in it's not safe to be working in a conventional classroom setting so put those two things together and even if the government is saying as it is look our default position is schools should open will that actually happen will their hand eventually be forced the reality is there are no easy decisions here and i think we're in for a bumpy few weeks as far as schools opening and then closing and then potentially reopening is concerned sure okay chris thank you chris mason

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