On 5 Jan, both England and Scotland went into lockdown. Primary and secondary schools in England, Scotland and Wales are now closed to most pupils.
After the tireless efforts of UNISON branches, reps and members, the government has finally closed most schools to all except vulnerable and key workers’ children. This decision will help to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control and ensure the safety of staff, pupils and our communities.
However, there are still some education settings where the situation is uncertain, particularly early years, which the government says should stay open. Many special and AP schools will also have higher numbers of vulnerable children and behaviour issues. Initial advice for these settings is provided below. However we are in dialogue with the Department for Education and await updated guidance on these settings, which we will respond to and update members as soon as possible
One of the main issues across all schools that are still open is the government’s new and wider definition of ‘vulnerable children’ which means in some schools we are seeing larger numbers of pupils attending school than in the first lockdown in March.
UNISON will continue to push the government for the evidence behind their decisions and to make sure that the limited opening of schools is still safe for staff and pupils. The measures we have argued for throughout this pandemic to make schools safer should still apply during this lockdown.