Education expert's instant reaction to government's shutdown of schools from Friday

18 March 2020, 19:40

By Seán Hickey

The Education Minister Gavin Williamson and the Prime Minister have announced that schools across the UK will close from Friday until further notice.

Eduction secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that schools across the UK will close from Friday. Schools will be open for children from vulnerable families and for children of "key workers" such as NHS staff and delivery drivers.

Sir Patrick Vallance said that the measures being taken are to protect us all rather than there being a particular risk to children.

Geoff Barton - General Secretary for The Association of School and College Leaders was on hand to give an instant reaction to the announcement.

Mr. Barton said that the idea of the government was to "keep young people in schools for as long as possible" and that up until this point is was feasible to keep schools open, but now it is in an effort to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

"We would not be able to run a business as usual in the schools" should schools become transmission grounds of Covid-19 Mr. Barton said. The government were using the measure up until now to keep people working but on recommendation from the scientists, have closed schools to protect those most susceptible to coronavirus.

One of the more unique parts of the measures taken is the government's insistence on keeping schools open for children of "key workers" and children from vulnerable backgrounds. Although they will still be in the system, the standard of teaching "will be nothing akin to the standard" of the UK system, Mr. Barton insisted

When pushed by Eddie for his opinion on when schools will finally reopen, Geoff Barton reluctantly announced that he was "not expecting schools to be back before September".

You can watch the reaction of Geoff Barton at the top of this page.