Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1105/31462
From The Socialist newspaper, 14 October 2020
National Education Union must launch action now
Teacher primary school classroom US Department of Education (Creative Commons) (Click to enlarge)
Jane Nellist, Coventry NEU
With growing case numbers in schools for both staff and students, which in turn leads to high numbers isolating, the National Education Union (NEU) urgently needs to make a stand.
We want the education of our students to be paramount, but we are not prepared to put at risk the health and safety of staff, students and communities. We need to force the government to act now.
Covid-19 will not be controlled by hope and good intentions. It needs a strong union that is ready to use all of its democratic power - including ballots for strike action. Calling all-members meetings in schools to discuss the situation should be a vital immediate step.
We have some of the largest class sizes, and the smallest classrooms, in Europe. Social distancing has been impossible to maintain in many schools. Cramped corridors, the lack of toilet facilities, and windows that don't give sufficient ventilation add to the problems.
The full reopening of schools in September was always going to create huge risks, especially without the NEU's 'five tests' firmly met - much lower case numbers, national plans for social distancing, fully functional test and trace, whole-school containment strategies, and protection for the vulnerable.
With no 'Plan B' and no confidence in a government that was reeling from one disaster to another, it was a critical error on the part of the union's leadership not to stand firm. The NEU nationally should have made clear we would refuse to comply with a full return, unless full resources and a defined trigger for 'blended learning' and reduced class numbers were in place.
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In The Socialist 14 October 2020:
Locked down, hard up, fight back!
As school cases soar - is contact tracing 'near breaking point'?
Even more delay in stopping school transmission?
National Education Union must launch action now
Nottingham Covid surge caused by Tory mismanagement
Under the microscope
Students not to blame for unsafe uni conditions
"It's not fair" - lockdown students demand free education
Students speak out: isolation and uncertainty reign
Building a movement to fight for free education
What we think
Unite votes to cut affiliation fee to Labour
Usdaw elections: the battle for a fighting union
NEU Special Conference: A fight for safety in schools is urgently needed
Napo AGM 2020: Celebrating probation victory and preparing for challenges ahead
University workers ballot for action against in-person teaching
Stop Royal Mail's profit-driven plans to force postal workers to share vans
Unison: The Socialist is backing Hugo Pierre - for a fighting socialist general secretary!
Are cooperatives the answer to a failing capitalist system?
Stop NHS meltdown
Transport for London funding crunch
Oliver Campbell - Still fighting for justice
Fighting Fund - we're off to a good start
Obituary: Raph Parkinson 1958-2020
Greek workers and socialists celebrate convictions of Golden Dawn fascists
Nigeria: Mass protests force government to disband killer cop unit
Non-fiction: This Land - the story of a movement
The Socialist Inbox
The Socialist 14 October 2020 |
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