Prior to the closure of all schools to all but vulnerable children and children and keyworkers on 5th January 2021, Parents United issued a statement of support for the work of education unions fighting for safe conditions for their members
We, Parents United Against Unsafe Schools, pledge our support to the unions and organisations demanding protection from unsafe working conditions for school staff.
The government’s decision to open fully the majority of primary schools across England, despite high infection rates and a new, highly transmissible, variant of COVID-19, is not safe or sustainable.
Whichever labels we each wear – parent, carer, educator, school worker or student – we are all human beings, with a fundamental human right to life and safe working conditions. The damaging narrative which depicts school worker’s demands for safety as an attempt to secure time off must not be allowed to stand; as a parent-powered campaign, we wholeheartedly support the calls for a safe and sustainable approach to teaching in the midst of COVID-19.
This must involve an online provision for learning when classroom environments cannot be made safe, and proper resourcing to ensure that any return to school is genuinely Covid-Secure. It is incomprehensible that while the government advise the public to make ‘space’ using social distancing, and cover their ‘face’ using a mask, they are also forcing school staff and pupils to work without these protections in classrooms and offices.
We are acutely aware that the reality underpinning any change to the delivery of education will involve a greater workload for teachers and school staff. We also understand that concern for the welfare and education of children and young people is central to the role and character of all education workers, and that this concern forms part of the education union’s motivation in demanding safety for everyone working in a school environment. This exemplifies the true value of schools within our communities, and the skill and moral fortitude of the individuals who run them.
We would like all those employed within the education sector to hear this simple message: we respect your dedicated professionalism and we believe in your ability to achieve great change in your fight to protect yourselves and the children in your care.
We wish all education unions the very best of luck in mobilising their membership to demand a safe working environment. As parents and carers of school age children we are grateful for the work you are doing, and are proud to express our support for your cause.
Parents United Against Unsafe Schools
For and on behalf of our membership of 23,000 parents and carers of school age children.