'Special education needs schools MUST remain open,' devastated father tells LBC

2 November 2020, 15:04 | Updated: 2 November 2020, 15:06

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A devastated father has told LBC that special educations needs schools must remain open citing the wellbeing of his own son.

John from Basingstoke called LBC to speak to Nick Ferrari after more than 150,000 teachers and support staff backed the National Education Union's (NEU) campaign to close schools and colleges as part of England's lockdown.

"My little boy is autistic," John revealed, telling the LBC presenter he fought very hard to get his son into a special assistance school.

John said it took almost two years to get his eight-year-old into the "fantastic school," but due to Covid he was "only actually physically there for four months."

Telling LBC the damage that is being done to pupils, the father said: "These schools have got to be kept open, Nick."

He said children were suffering because of the lockdown. "It is not got enough for these education unions to come out periodically prattling their stuff."

Asking how a "week on week off rota system" would work he said it was "not a real world."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We are prioritising children's and young people's education and wellbeing, by keeping nurseries, schools, colleges and universities open.

"The chief and deputy chief medical officers have highlighted the risks of not being in education on their development and mental health."

On Saturday, the NEU launched a campaign calling for the Government to close schools and colleges with the introduction of new national restrictions.

In less than 48 hours, more than 150,000 teachers and support staff have voiced their support and over 20,000 have written to their MP and lobbied them on social media, according to the NEU.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: "The response to our call this weekend for school closures shows that our concern is widely shared.

"The Government is failing our communities as well as our schools and colleges and that is why we are seeking an amendment to Parliament's lockdown bill.

"We have seen a fifty-fold increase in infections in secondary schools alone since September. Schools, clearly, are an engine for virus transmission."

The teaching union is also calling for rotas to be introduced in secondary schools and sixth form colleges at the end of the lockdown period.

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