Boris Johnson "isn't the person to lecture teachers on moral duty" says union leader

9 August 2020, 12:56

By Seán Hickey

The head of one of the UK's largest teaching unions told LBC that teachers have been working towards reopening without clear guidance up until now.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders told Iain Dale that teachers are "not sure the Prime Minister is the person to give them a lecture on moral duty," after reports on Sunday suggesting that the PM believes opening schools a "moral duty," as lockdown eases.

"If you want to see leadership you look to school and college leaders," he added, noting that teachers have been the ones coming up with reopening strategies to date because of a lack of government guidance.

"If the guidance isn't clear, you in your schools and colleges make the decision," said Mr Barton.

He told Iain that "windy, rhetorical," articles such as the one that broke the Prime Minister's words on schools reopening will not help leaders open schools faster, concrete action will.

Mr Barton told Iain that teachers have been planning for reopening without government guidance
Mr Barton told Iain that teachers have been planning for reopening without government guidance. Picture: PA

Iain addressed the suggestions that pubs may have to close in order to reopen schools to prevent a second wave.

He expressed to Mr Barton that picking on one sector such as hospitality isn't the solution and asked for the union leader's point of view.

Mr Barton said that these suggestions come "at a time when there's been some demonising of teacher unions," in the media, where the idea that pubs closing to make way for schools will demonise teachers and their unions further.

"Education should have been the priority from day one," the union chief concluded, which he now believes is what the government are trying to rectify in their approach to the reopening of schools.

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