Boris Johnson’s announcement that schools will close until February half term is yet another U-turn from this shambolic Tory government – one which has been forced by the huge pressure from below by education workers.
The attempted use of a biased algorithm to predict a-Level grades in the UK in the absence of exams was met with protest and resistance by young people across these islands. The use of a similar algorithm as was used in England, Wales and Scotland exposed the insidious ‘postcode lottery’ which exists in those regions.
Despite an increase in the rate of infection and moves by Stormont to tighten some restrictions, Education Minister Peter Weir and the entire NI Executive are pushing forward in a pigheaded and dangerous manner to reopen our schools. They are ignoring warnings from education unions that this could be the “next care home crisis”.
The recent announcement by Peter Weir, the NI Education Minister, that all pupils are set to return to school in September full-time will bring mixed feelings for parents and teachers alike, who no doubt will have serious concerns over safety. In order to facilitate this, Weir also announced that previously planned social distancing guidelines would be relaxed.
Arlene Foster announced that by reducing physical distancing for children from 2m to 1m, all children would be able to attend full-time from September. This was branded “unrealistic and undeliverable” by Graham Gault, the NI Vice-President of the National Association of Head Teachers.