ASCL responds to Independent SAGE call to make schools safe

27/11/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the call by Independent SAGE for urgent action to address escalating Covid infection rates in schools.
 
Commenting on the call by Independent SAGE for urgent action to address escalating Covid infection rates in schools, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“We have repeatedly called on the government to allow schools to move to rota systems if this would help them to manage the significant disruption many are experiencing because of coronavirus.
 
“The government has refused to countenance this approach and has dogmatically insisted that schools must plough on to the end of term fully open whatever the consequences.
 
“We now see that Independent SAGE is proposing blended learning for secondary schools in areas with high levels of infection on scientific grounds in order to control infection rates.
 
“We share the government’s view that keeping schools open is a national priority but it should be prepared to show some flexibility in how this is achieved in light of the extreme circumstances.
 
“At the very least the government must give school leaders the flexibility to move to remote learning during the final week of term either fully or partially based on their judgement of the situation.
 
“Many schools may be in the invidious position of having to tell large numbers of pupils and staff to self-isolate over Christmas in line with Covid protocols.
 
“They need to be able to make decisions over how best to deliver learning during that week in order to minimise that risk and in the best interests of their school community.”