Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 October 2020

Action on Covid transmission in schools now

  (Click to enlarge)

Martin Powell-Davies, Lancashire National Education Union (personal capacity)

At last, some opposition politicians are starting to speak out clearly about the woeful failure of the Tory government to control the spread of the virus. But words alone can be ignored.

So now it's time for the National Education Union (NEU) to back up words with action and call strike ballots in the worst-affected areas.

The publicity around the union's call for a two-week 'circuit-breaker' over half-term, including schools, has already helped to break the silence over how our packed classrooms are operating, as one of the key vectors driving the 'Covid second wave' of rising infections and deaths.

Public Health England's own data now confirms that test positivity rates are rising sharply, and most of all among teenagers and young adults. Some of the highest incidences of Covid outbreaks are being recorded in schools. These are recorded across all sectors - nursery, primary, special and secondary.

The virus is being carried into schools, transmitted between pupils and staff, then carried back out into communities again. That's inevitable when schools are operating with full classes without any possibility of adequate social distancing, with 30 or more children and adults sharing the same, often poorly ventilated, classroom space. The risks are greatest in tier two and three areas with the highest infection rate, especially for staff at risk who are not being allowed to work at home.

Yet the government continues to ignore reality. Lancashire councillors reported that when they spoke up in negotiations about transmission in schools and workplaces being the real problem, they were told by government officials that these were 'off-limits'.

So Lancashire is now in tier three, without adequate financial support for workers affected, but also with school safety continuing to be ignored. For the sake of staff and for the safety of our communities too, it's high time to take the action needed to make sure that ministers cannot ignore us any longer.

That's why emergency NEU members' meetings have been called in the first tier three areas of Lancashire and Liverpool. Local officers agree that escalation to a higher tier must be met with an escalation in the union's strategy. With infection rates on the rise, we must not delay.

Socialist Party in Education is calling for:

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 21 October 2020:


Health before profit - Work or full pay

Wales 'firebreak' lockdown fails to protect workers

Liverpool lockdown: suspicion and anger

Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns

Leicester lockdown: disillusionment and anger


Why the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


Nigeria protests: 'This movement needs to fight the whole rotten capitalist system'

Horrific murder in Paris: fight intolerance and racism!

South Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage


Tories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!

World capitalism's terrified strategists abandon austerity - for now


Test and Trace U-turn on stopping local case reporting

Oxbridge gets private Covid tests: pool resources to test us all!

Millennials disillusioned with 'democracy'

Under the microscope


RMT: Programme to fight redundancies and cuts

Action on Covid transmission in schools now

FCC dismiss Unison activist Tony Smith

Optare workers strike over pay broken 'promise'

Solidarity with Deliveroo Couriers in York


NHS workers

Students: Give us our money back

Fight for your future at the online rally

Southampton: Coxford community condemns racist attack

Socialism 2020: Will you help our finance appeal?

Selling the Socialist: increase in NHS anger

Truth about Zane: Cover-up Tories crack

Kent: Chaotic privatised asylum process

Teignmouth hospital closure threat ... again!

Readers' opinion

Books that inspired me: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Beware the billionaires bearing gifts

Disabled students let down by "rotten education system"

The Socialist Inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 21 October 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleCampaign for school Covid safety must continue

triangleSchools need union action for safety

triangleA lockdown that doesn't include education?

triangleHorrific murder in Paris: fight intolerance and racism!

triangleNottingham Covid surge caused by Tory mismanagement


triangleStop the Tories putting profit before health

triangleTUSC sets out core policies for May 2021 local elections

triangleCovid crisis: "We won't pay the price"

triangleHugo Pierre, a candidate in Unison's general secretary election, speaking at Socialism 2020, 21st November 2020


triangleYoung Socialists organising for our future

triangleAfter Corbyn: TUSC and the fight for working-class political representation

triangleObituary: Paul Chettle


triangleLancashire workers' strike shows the way to fight aerospace cuts and job losses

triangleLancashire Socialist Party: Israel-Palestine - what solution to the conflict?


triangleLittle Ilford school strike stands firm - council must use reserves!


triangleManchester student occupation - end rip-off rent, free education now

National Education Union:

triangleNEU Special Conference: A fight for safety in schools is urgently needed


triangleSystem failing thousands of children in care

Martin Powell-Davies:

triangleTest and Trace U-turn on stopping local case reporting

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Little Ilford school strike stands firm - council must use reserves!


Heathrow airport

Heathrow workers to strike against 'fire and rehire' plans


Socialism 2020

How will Socialism 2020 work?



Optare: Right to strike defended


The Socialist

Selling the Socialist



Manchester student occupation - end rip-off rent, free education now



Stop Leicester hospital closure



#SpyCops inquiry - Revealing police violence against Socialists


Young Socialists

Young Socialists organising for our future



Race disparity gets worse - fight to improve living standards for all



Overcrowded Little Ilford School strikes against more expansion



Strike action ballot at UEL over job cuts



Hackney council parking services brought in-house



Fight Tata Steel jobs threat - nationalise now!



Ex-MP Chris Williamson joins TUSC

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020