Harlow Labour Council Leader: “We are on the side of schools, teachers, pupils and parents. I wish that Robert Halfon was too.”

News / Tue 9th Jun 2020 pm30 03:37pm

Labour Council Leader: “We are on the side of schools, teachers, pupils and parents. I wish that Robert Halfon was too.”

HARLOW Labour have welcomed the news that the Government have u-turned on forcing schools to fully return before it is safe, and have pledged to continue to support Harlow’s schools, teachers, pupils and parents.

Labour Leader Mark Ingall said: “As both a parent and a school teacher myself, I am aware of the importance of education, and how crucial school education is to the welfare, development and future life prospects of our children. No school wishes to operate under anything less than full attendance, and no school teacher wishes to be anywhere else than in the classroom teaching our children, but only when it is possible to do so safely.

When the Government announced its intention for schools to return to full attendance, schools expected clear and extensive guidance on how this could be achieved safely. Teachers’ union the NEU laid out five key tests involving social distancing, PPE and testing, for the phased return that would minimise risks to pupils, parents and school workers. Harlow Labour gave backing to these by writing to Conservative Essex County Council on the 23 May with these five key tests clearly stated. These have not been met.

Given a lack of Government leadership, schools have been left to take individual decisions based on staffing levels, available outdoor and indoor space, classroom sizes, the age of their buildings and many other factors. I applaud every school in Harlow for their Herculean efforts in trying to meet the Government target, taking steps to open to more pupils on the 1st June and attempting to plan for a return to full capacity. Unfortunately, years of funding cuts have left many of Harlow’s schools desperately overcrowded, and a full, safe return has proved to be an impossible mission.

Parents, teachers and pupils have not been given the reassurance of a clear plan and strategy from the Government, and now they have been let down by our local MP Robert Halfon on the Victoria Derbyshire Programme. He seems prepared to compromise safety by dogmatically insisting on a full return when the five key tests have not yet been properly met.

Mr Halfon’s attack on “teaching unions” and “local authorities” shows how out of touch he has become. His attempts to lay the blame on teachers and schools – who want nothing more than to have classrooms back to full capacity when it is safe to do so – is a kick in the teeth for all those involved in education, who have kept schools open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers while delivering learning online for those that could not attend. It’s clear that he is ignoring the concerns of parents and pupils and the challenges that our schools are facing.

Harlow Labour will continue to support our schools through this crisis and beyond. We are on the side of schools, teachers, pupils and parents. I wish that Robert Halfon was too.”

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2 Comments for Harlow Labour Council Leader: “We are on the side of schools, teachers, pupils and parents. I wish that Robert Halfon was too.”:

2020-06-09 16:30:48

Halfon's spot on, seems we're going back to the bad old days when the unions dictated to the majority, what they're going to get. I had a bet with one or two Lefties that I know thatthis problem would run right into the school summer term, I've seen it before. When I saw local school teachers turning up for school in the AM, a few weeks before the election, with posters in their cars, VOTE LABOUR, I thought, uhm, somethings brewing,and would you believe it,up pops a pandemic to add to the grief. Why not come back later in the year, say August and get the children back into class ?

2020-06-10 09:09:46

While it is the right that a phased return to school is put in palce until all the social distancing measure etc can be met, these 5 tests that are mentione din this piece really need to be dropped. These 5 tests of Harlow Labour are not based on scientific fact and need to be dropped immediatley as they risk causing more harm than good. Equally, Harlow Labour need to stop scaaremongering on these points especially as the BMA, which was referenced, changed their stance contradicting these points. Nowhere in the world has there been a link between returning to schools and breakout of the disease or any second spike due to this. Please drop the 5 point test or at least update them based on non politicial scientific advice. At least the current govt is following scientific advice whether you like it or not, it is the best that people know right now. Trade unions sadly are not the experts in this field.

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