Union leader frustrates Nick Ferrari by avoiding face mask questioning

24 August 2020, 11:38

By Seán Hickey

After asking a teaching union chief the same question a number of times, Nick Ferrari said he had some sympathy for Gavin Williamson for negotiating with trade organisations.

Nick Ferrari asked President of the National Association of Head Teachers Ruth Davies whether she thought teachers should wear face masks or face coverings in the classroom.

The union head told Nick: "The question over face masks or anything else has to be answered by government. We're teachers, we need to take our lead from the professionals in order to put safe strategies in place for our learners."

Ms Davies went on: "we're still waiting to hear the clarity from the government over that but the wearing of masks will certainly feature in school's risk assessments."

An agitated Nick wasn't impressed by Ms Davies' answer. "You're the President of the National Association of Head Teachers," he said. "You must have a view."

"My view is that schools need to return safely," the union chief said. "The science behind wearing or non-wearing of masks is something we need to receive from experts.

Students in parts of the UK are returning to school this week
Students in parts of the UK are returning to school this week. Picture: PA

Ms Davies added there must be a "whole community responsibility to the returning of schools."

"We all agree that A: the children have missed out; B: teachers have worked very hard; C: a lot of teachers have not had any holiday; D: pupils have been going in; E: we need to get them back."

Nick spelled out his questioning to Ms Davies. "My point is, are you now satisfied with what Professor Whitty has put out?"

The President of the NAHT told listeners that "the government perhaps isn't collaborating with us as much as it needs to," and that is what union leaders are frustrated with.

Nick quipped "I hardly blame them, you don't give a view on anything."

"If talking to trade organisations is like this...I've actually got sympathy for them now," he added.

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