Government must stop 'last minute changes' on reopening schools, insists NEU chief

2 January 2021, 10:31 | Updated: 2 January 2021, 11:19

By Seán Hickey

The leader of the UK's largest teachers' union calls on the Government to put an end to last minute U-turns and improve their pandemic management.

Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union Dr Mary Bousted declared that "the best thing is for schools to be open and for children to be educated," but told Andrew Castle that because the UK is in the "middle of a public health crisis" Government must adapt.

She argued that "there may be something happening in this new strain," which warrants closing schools as students are at greater risk.

"The first duty of the government is to protect the health of its citizens and what we are saying is get this right and get schools open safely," Dr Bousted pleaded.

She issued a demand directly to Government: "Stop this chaos, this last minute changing and parents not knowing form one day to the next."

Read More: Covid-19 crisis in numbers: LBC brings you the stats you need to know

Read More: Gavin Williamson refuses to rule out prosecutions for keeping kids at home during pandemic

Andrew worried that disagreements between Government and teaching unions is increasing the likelihood of industrial action.

"Industrial action isn't an option and we don't think it's the right option," Dr Bousted asserted.

She explained what a teacher can do if they are concerned by conditions in their workplace: "If they believe their workplace is not safe and is either endangering their health or endangering the health of other people...then they do have the right to say to their employer 'you are not providing a safe place for me to work and therefore I refuse to enter that workplace.'

"That is an individual legal right."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify