Jeff Smith MP – “Safety should come first in our schools”

Jeff Smith MP has joined parents, teachers and trade unions in supporting the City Council’s guidance to allow schools to address safety concerns before they open more widely.

Labour have been calling for the government to publish the scientific evidence behind the phased reopening of schools and for guarantees that an effective test, track and isolate system is in place in every school before they can reopen to large numbers of pupils.

Manchester City Council has outlined its position that schools should be permitted to devise their own safe ways to stay open rather than be forced by the government to open to certain year groups by a fixed deadline. They’ve also told parents not to send their child back to school until informed to do so by the school.

Last week, Jeff organised a virtual meeting of primary school headteachers in his constituency to listen to their concerns about the government’s plans for the partial reopening of schools on 1st June.

Speaking about the government’s plans, Jeff said:

“The longer children are out of the classroom, the faster existing inequalities between children will widen. For this reason, it is vital that we are able to get all children back to school as soon as it is safe to do so.

“However, as things stand, the government plans to force large numbers of children in certain year groups back to schools in less than a week’s time without guaranteeing the safety of all pupils and teachers.

“While schools are currently open to the children of key workers and vulnerable children, there needs to be improved consultation with trade unions, headteachers and parents’ organisations before the further reopening of schools. I’m supporting the joint approach by the City Council, schools and unions allowing schools flexibility in how and when they open.”

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