Headteachers are pushing back against union demands to shut schools as part of the impending lockdown in England, but are challenging the government over the lack of face-coverings in classrooms.
The government has rejected demands by some teaching unions to shut schools and colleges as part of the month-long lockdown that starts on Thursday if approved by Parliament. The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT), however, has backed the government.
Brook said that the government needed to provide transparency on the risks and questioned why the government in Westminster had not demanded face-coverings in classrooms, which are currently obligatory in Scotland in high-restriction areas.
“We want to know from the government in England why their interpretation differs and when precisely risk factors will trigger a move to rota-working,” Brook said.
As the name suggests, rota-working would mean staggering teaching into week-on, week-off classes, with smaller sizes. Such approaches have already been used in some colleges, supplemented by online learning.
The National Education Union (NEU) says that schools should all be shut during the lockdown and re-opened only with a rota system.
The NEU cite Office for National Statistics figures that estimate 1 percent of primary pupils and 2 percent of secondary pupils have the virus.
Closing schools “may have to be revisited” during the lockdown if the transmission of the virus continues to rise, he said.