Great Britain

Teaching unions slammed after saying reopening schools fully in September would be ‘impossible’

TEACHING unions were accused of “taking on the nation’s parents” last night after claiming reopening schools fully in September would be “impossible”.

Dr Mary Bousted, head of the left-wing National Education Union (NEU), threatened to force some schools to stay shut because of the rise in Covid cases.

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Boris Johnson has pledged to reopen all schools for all ages at the start of the autumn term following six months out of the classroom due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

But Dr Bousted, speaking in a Zoom meeting, declared: “The Government's making threatening noises about that. But in the end, they won't be able to carry out their threats.”

Last night the Government hit back, accusing the unions of working against the interests of parents, with a survey showing nine in ten think it’s safe to send their children back to school.

A senior government source blasted: “Union leaders should be working in the interests of children by helping them get back to school safely, not damaging their prospects by trying to wreck the return to school in September.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has branded Dr Bousted’s organisation the ‘No Education Union’ over her repeated opposition to schools reopening.

'Playing political games'

Hitting back at her defeatist attitude, former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton told The Sun: “The only thing that seems impossible is for the NEU to spend a fraction of the time supporting schools, to make sure they are able to welcome back their pupils in September, rather than constantly scaremongering about how difficult it all is.

“A bit more 'how can we make this happen' rather than the constant 'computer says no' wouldn't go amiss, which is what most schools have quietly and calmly been getting on with in spite of the NEU doommongerers.”

The Tory MP added: “Many children will have been completely out of school for almost 6 months come September and the catch up and re-acclimatisation for them will be considerable.

“How many more months of damage to our children in some of their most formative years will it take before the NEU finally give their blessing to letting their members get on with the job they are itching to do.

"This is the worst example of playing political games during the pandemic and it is our children who are missing out.”

Boss of the Commons Education committee Robert Halfon said: “The unions should be doing everything possible to get our children learning again.

"Millions of kids have suffered in the lockdown with a lack of learning, safeguarding problems and mental health problems – it’s time to get the kids back in school.”

“Rather than her saying it’s impossible, they should be taking the attitude of Nicholas Winton who famously said ‘if it’s not impossible, there must be a way to do it.’”

Schools COULD close again in local lockdowns, Business Secretary Alok Sharma admits

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