‘Government making it up as it goes along’: Ministers changed plans to reopen schools 41 times, says union chief

‘Government making it up as it goes along’: Ministers changed plans to reopen schools 41 times, says union chief


Union leaders have accused the government of “making it up as they go along” as it emerged that guidance to reopen schools has been revised 41 times since early May.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said it was “too soon” to reopen primary schools on Monday and called for a delay until 15 June.

She said ministers had changed the guidance for teachers more than 40 times since it was first published.


“The government is making it up as they go along,” she told Sky News Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

Ministers have said their five key tests required for the easing of lockdown have been met – and schools will admit more pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from Monday.​

Ms Bousted said: “We think tomorrow is too soon and we have made that argument very, very clearly for a number of weeks now, ever since Boris Johnson made his announcement on 10 May.”

Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at Edinburgh University, said schools need to be considered in a similar way to hospitals and care homes in terms of testing going forward so that outbreaks can be quickly monitored and caught.

“What we want to be having is actually testing in schools,” she said.

“We need to be treating schools like how we’ve been treating hospitals and care homes. These are institutions that need to be monitored and teachers need to be tested, older students need to be tested. We don’t have yet those, you know, monitoring systems in place.”

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