Nick Ferrari's furious row with teacher's union chief over schools returning

15 May 2020, 11:35 | Updated: 15 May 2020, 11:36

By Fiona Jones

This is the furious row Nick Ferrari had with a teacher's union chief over children returning to school next month.

Teachers union leaders are meeting with Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty today to establish when children can safely return to school, Jerry Glazier of National Union for Teachers (NUT) told Nick.

"Where's the problem? If schools have already been open, where's the problem? You're not telling me that critical workers' children don't have runny noses?" asked Nick.

Mr Glazier responded that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had not opened schools: "When you increase the numbers of children how can you ensure that the school is safe for the children, staff and consequently safe for all the parents?"

Nick listed the countries around Europe where schools have been reopened or had not even closed, including France which has seen a similar infection rate to England.

Mr Glazier repeatedly said circumstances in England are very different.

"Why is a primary school child different in Paris than he or she is in Pontefract?" asked Nick angrily.

Teachers union leaders are meeting with Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty today to establish when children can safely return to school
Teachers union leaders are meeting with Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty today to establish when children can safely return to school. Picture: PA

Mr Glazier said the delay to return children to school is about ensuring everyone is safe, to which Nick listed the governments which have opened schools, "You think they don't give a stuff about that?"

"Our circumstances in our country...should be looked at in the context of the UK. That's what we want to do: look at the context of the UK and look at the science as it relates to this country," Mr Glazier responded, saying that the UK has the second highest death rate in the world.

Nick corrected him; the UK has the second highest death tally in the world but per million does not have the second highest death rate. In Europe, the UK does not even have the highest death rate per million, with Italy and Belgium being higher.

"Do you not realise that for some children, Mr Glazier, school isn't a place of education, it's a place of sanctity? You are jeopardising these children's life chances!" Nick said.

"We are absolutely not doing that, Nick...that's the last thing as professionals we want to do. We want to ensure the safety of children, the safety of teachers, the safety of support staff and the safety of parents," Mr Glazier.

Nick questioned what the public would make of "an incredible reluctance to go back to work."

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