We challenge the wisdom of the decision that early years, and much AP and SEND provision should remain open with rampant transmission rates.
We cannot understand why the evidence has not been released to explain, in plain language, why it is that early years settings, AP and SEND provision – those places where person-to-person contact is essential and social distancing is impossible – are considered safe to remain open.
Our members in early years, AP and SEND provision continue to feel vulnerable themselves, and we are calling on ministers to provide an explanation and evidence for their decisions.
Deborah Lawson, Assistant General Secretary (Voice Community), has said:
“With many members in the early years and childcare, we are greatly concerned by the damage the pandemic has done to this sector and continues to do.
“We urge the Government to take this opportunity to put in place plans for testing of children and staff, both in early years settings, that remain open fully, and in schools, and urge them to prioritise the vaccination of staff in early years settings and education, so that further disruptions can be limited.”
Community General Secretary Roy Rickhuss has written to the UK Government calling for workers in the education and early years sectors to be given priority access to the Coronavirus vaccine, and we will are also be writing to the relevant ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
We need to see support from the Government for our education and early years settings, without which, we fear damage to the sector may be irreparable.
Support for members
We want to support members who do not believe it is safe for them to return to face-to-face teaching or childcare for all but vulnerable children and those of key workers and advise you call our duty officer on 01332 372337 to discuss the specific circumstances.
We cannot recommend that members refuse to return to the workplace due to the risk that this may pose to their continued employment.
Our calls for priority vaccination and other safety measures were informed by our December safety survey. Thank you to those who took part. Click here to read the results.