The “safe” schools of Boris Johnson and the education gap


It is becoming increasingly apparent that a substantial number of schools will remain closed to all but the children of key staff and those at risk for the time being (Parents face week of uncertainty over school reopenings in England, Jan. 3).

Schools should not, however, wait for needy kids to come to them.

Therefore, it is imperative for principals, teachers, social workers, council employees – and, where appropriate, police officers – to work together to ensure that the most vulnerable children are in school, fed and cared for, and, where possible, to learn. Helping the most needy in this crisis would help reduce the hunger, violence and neglect suffered by far too many.

It would also help to close the education gap between the haves and the have-nots that is widening every day. Fiona CarnieAlternatives in education- Once again, Boris Johnson insisted that schools be safe.

My wife’s school reported during the Christmas holidays that almost half of her teaching peers had positive Covid exams – including my wife, an asthmatic in her early 60s.

She had an awful time. Among the school’s residents, the virus must have been widespread.

Mr. Johnson may apply to the many private schools that have provided testing at great cost to both workers and students. Neal GordonLondon-John Harris laments the lack of readiness of our schools for the Covid crisis (“Open all schools!” Close all schools! Innovative thinking, Jan. 3 is what England really needs.). Maybe between “state” and “our” we should insert the word “schools” because I bet most private schools are doing pretty well…. I wonder how many Tory MPs and ministers are still or have sent or still sent their offspring to one of the public (aka private) schools? In their households, there will be no shortage of laptops or a decent wifi link, and no shortage of help when required. And again, in this summer’s review round, privately trained students will take that advantage.

So let’s start painting them in England, too.

John MarriottNorth Hykeham, Lincolnshire-The most shocking discovery to come from reading John Harris is that we do not have adequate data on the protection of schools as places of work after more than ten months of the national pandemic.

It would not be very difficult or time consuming to obtain weekly statistics on student and employee infections from schools and colleges. Nigel Gann Former principal and school governor, Lichfield, Staffordshire-It is clear that we need another national lockout, as Keir Starmer says, but this need not be at the cost of the education of our children. But all we have is anecdotal reports of children spreading the virus and staff falling ill, being disabled and dying. Why not shake up the timetable for schools? In January, lock down and close classes, but make up for lost time by canceling half the school year, reducing Easter holidays to two days, Good Friday and Easter Monday, and pushing back exams and three weeks for the end of the summer term, and limiting summer holidays to three weeks. A winter break for soccer – let’s copy it for the schools. Phil TateChester


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