Finally, on Monday, weeks of pressure hit the prime minister when he gathered the courage to deliver bad news and declare a fresh lockout in England. “likely to get tougher”likely to get tougher,”schools are safe.”schools are safe.
Labor did not defend the stance taken by the local authority when the government took legal action against the Greenwich Borough Council for proposing that local schools remain open only to disabled children and those with key staff in the final days of the school year, as the government has now ordered.
Instead, a member of the shadow cabinet echoed the line that “schools should be the last thing to close” and invited the government to work to change direction with the council.
At the time, 3,670 students and 314 school staff were in self-isolation in Greenwich, and two schools in the region had already been forced to close fully because of staff shortages. During the crisis, and particularly after Kate Green replaced Rebecca Long-Bailey, an education union supporter, as shadow education minister, Keir Starmer had made it clear that keeping schools open was a previous one. “I don’t just want all children to go back to school next month, I expect them to go back to school. No ifs, no buts, no equivocations,”I don’t just want all children to go back to school next month, I expect them to go back to school. No ifs, no buts, no mistakes. The united demand of the education unions that schools not reopen until it is safe to do so and additional funding for increased cleaning, PPE and risk assessments were not stated.
Labor also fought in July over face coverings in schools with unions, with Green claiming that they were inappropriate after unions requested that workers be required to wear them. The stance of the party shifted the following month when new guidelines was provided by the World Health Organization. The approach of labor to education during Covid varied from its approach to other policy fields. For the most part, the opposition leader has regularly made requests in line with the recommendations of the Emergency Scientific Advisory Committee (Sage). In October, when Starmer called for a ‘circuit-breaker’ in England, it was based on the minutes of a meeting held in September by Sage. Instead of pursuing it as promised, he called for the government to neglect science.
A four-week lockdown was confirmed shortly afterwards, making Starmer look like Captain Foresight. It’s back to school for Boris Johnson, the guy who refuses to understand | Marina Hyde.
Sage cautioned in late December that restrictions such as those placed in November when schools are open would be “highly unlikely” to keep the R count below 1 and that this measure may not be adequate to curb the virus’s spread. It was a denial of the reality of the situation not to heed this advice, especially since the increased transmissibility of the new variant was known beforehand.
Furthermore, everyone knew that after each outbreak, children were still sent home to separate themselves, making a joke of the notion that schools were completely open and capable of operating normally anyway. While Starmer called for another closure on Sunday afternoon without recommending the closure of all schools, Minister of Education Wes Streeting blamed the government for being “behind the schools” He did not advocate school closures directly, but it seemed to signal support for a step in that direction. However, the next morning, Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green specified that Labour’s planned closure would “try to control this virus and keep children in class,” reiterating that “schools should be the very last place to close,” while it was obvious that the time for the very last place to close had come. According to polling, teachers, school workers and unions, as well as Sage, councillors, dissatisfied Labour MPs from across the party and the British public were right, leaving many questioning why Starmer hadn’t listened to them earlier.
In stark contrast to the approach, it seemed to be