Parents United UK October Newsletter

With the vaccine rollout now beginning to extend itself to some children and young people, and with the first half of the Autumn Term drawing to a close, now feels like an appropriate time to evaluate the work our team is carrying out as we move through these new stages of this pandemic, and to provide some information about the next steps for Parents United. 


Legal

The Good Law Project issued pre-action legal letters and were waiting on Nadhim Zahawi / The Department for Education to respond in full.  An initial response was received requesting additional time, but as DfE failed to respond in a sufficiently urgent manner, Good Law Project has issued proceedings for judicial review.

Good Law Project are no longer actively seeking parents and carers to be potential claimants but we are keeping a list of cases who meet the criteria. Good Law Project has now confirmed four claimants, after speaking to lots and lots of parents, all in terrible situations. We will continue to screen and ensure parents who meet the Good Law Projects criteria for claiming in this judicial review are referred, as there may be the opportunity to add more claimants to the case in the near future. 

If you, or somebody you know is vulnerable and being refused remote educational provision in lieu of in person attendance and has been threatened with financial and/or criminal sanctions, let us know by messaging the Parents United page inbox or via our contact us form on the Parents United website https://www.parentsunited.net/contact-us/ .

08/10/2021 Update : at the time of release the government have responded to Good Law Project, you can read about it here 

You may find that providing reference to the Government’s response in your communication with school helps your head teacher to understand that, despite the guidance (referred to in the legal response to government by GLP) they can, and should, grant authorised absence and remote learning provision to CEV/CV households in the normal way under the pupils registration act 2006 regulation 6(2)(a) where there is an unavoidable cause or sickness.


Find out more from the Good Law project Crowdfunder here and keep an eye on the updates for further developments in this important legal case.


Fresh Air Schools:

Fresh Air Schools is a Parents United UK initiative that involves working with scientists and industry professionals to collect and disseminate the most up-to-date evidence on the mitigation of airborne transmission to government, non-state actors, schools and families.

We have been delighted to see the success of the DIY air filter movement sweeping across the US: our friends at the World Health Network Airborne Team have this week released Version 1 of DIY Filter Designs which are suitable for construction in the UK, and Fresh Air Schools will be supporting schools and communities’ who wish to benefit from this low cost and effective means of reducing the risk of long range airborne transmission.

In addition to supporting community cohesion and public engagement with the airborne movement, Fresh Air Schools continues to network behind the scenes.  We are grateful for the support of a diverse range of helpful connections, and are confident that the DIY filter movement will take hold in the UK and achieve decent media coverage to spread the message of this important movement.  You can keep up with the latest information surrounding the airborne movement on Twitter by following @FreshAirSchools, and searching the hashtags #CovidisAirborne, #CorsiRosenthalBox, and #WeAreNotHelpless.


Countering dis/misinformation project

Our team of hard-working volunteers are busy organising and formulating official letters of complaint to be sent out to MPs, media companies,regulators and advertisers, asking them to address those platforms that continue giving voice to the various disinformation networks out there that undermine our work and threaten the safety of our children and families. 

The countering disinformation team is part of a wider collaboration initiative to counteract disinformation and misinformation around the globe, involving other researchers and grassroots groups from education and community sectors around the world. 

Watch out for *disinformation alerts* in the group in the coming days.


Anti-vax aggression and protests at schools

Throughout September numerous members posted into the Facebook group about demonstrations, aggression and protests at their children and young people’s schools. If you experience an anti vax incident at your children’s school please let us know by messaging the Parents United UK Facebook page. We are taking incident reports and drawing attention to the issues we are facing at the school gates and in some instances, within the school buildings. We all wish to keep our families, children and school staff safe, and some, if not all of these demonstrations actively place them at risk. 

While we would encourage people who wish to report such incidents to retain evidence where possible, please do not put yourself in any danger in order to get evidence of what has happened. Examples of evidence include, photographs of literature handed to children and young people, photos/videos of damage caused by anti vax protesters, first hand accounts of incidents, news stories about anti vax school harassment etc. We welcome whistleblower reports from school staff and will always maintain anonymity and confidentiality where necessary. 


Support Team

Our inboxes remain open for any concerned members to seek one to one support, or for help dealing with school communications where necessary. We have supported several thousand parents and carers to navigate some complex decisions and manage sensitive communications with their school and will continue to provide up-to-date guidance as we move through the latest stages of the pandemic. If your issue is complex and cannot be answered by a group post and/or if you wish to anonymously post, please message our Facebook page.


Resources

Our website provides a range of resources for information and support, which we will be developing further in the coming weeks and months.  Plans for development include an online library of support resources, and strategies to help tackle disinformation in the media and online.

Our Traffic Light maps show the 7-day rolling rate of cases per 100,000 of the population in a Local Authority Area are available to view on the website: you can check your local case rate by visiting our static Traffic Light Map and clicking the area you live in, while the Animated Map shows the pattern of spread of Covid-19 since the Delta became the UK’s dominant variant in May.

We manage media requests when parent perspectives are required, and have a Parents Media List of contacts for such occasions. If you wish to be added, please use the contact form on our website.


Facebook group 

Our Facebook group now has 22,600 members! Welcome all new members, please take some time to have a look around the group, the group announcements and files hold lots of useful information including our group rules and ethos.

Our wonderful Admin and Moderation Team take care of the Facebook group, ensuring it provides a safe and secure space for parents, carers and concerned community members to come together free of harassment, to talk about our shared experiences and support each other. 

Having been made the target of numerous pro-covid, anti-vax campaigns since the group was founded, moderating the group continues to be a big job, and our team gives many hours for the shared good of our community. 

We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude and thanks for the time that the entirely voluntary team takes to ensure that the group remains a safe and supportive place for members to discuss and share experiences of parenting during the Covid-19 pandemic. Without you the space would not be possible. 


Politics means politics (PMP) Blog 

Parents United UK have a regular column in Politics Means Politics – a grassroots online magazine that discusses current affairs and politics. We are seeking articles from our members addressing the current issues facing families during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.

To submit an article/s please contact us either at the Facebook page or via the website.


Volunteering Opportunities

We have lots of opportunities to volunteer available within our current projects. Please message us at our Facebook page or contact us through the website if you would like to volunteer with our busy team, including a rundown of your skills and interests.

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