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Rose Tremlett
Interim head of press 
07545 354363

Tom Niblett
Press officer
07970 907730

Email: press.office@naht.org.uk 


NAHT letter to Nadhim Zahawi MP

Following comments made by Michael Fabricant MP in an interview with the BBC on 12th April 2022, the NAHT has contacted the Secretary of State concerning the matter. A full copy of the letter can be seen below:

Dear Nadhim,

I am writing regarding the comments made by your colleague, Michael Fabricant MP, as part of a BBC television interview on 12 April. 

During that interview, Mr Fabricant suggested that during the national lockdown, teachers and school staff "tended to go back to the staff room for a quiet drink" at the end of a day.

This suggestion is wholly inaccurate and deeply insulting to the teaching profession. I cannot overstate the hurt and anger these comments have caused. 

As you will already know, during the national lockdowns, school leaders followed government guidelines meticulously. In fact, you have praised them for doing so. In reality, this meant that most teachers kept to small 'bubbles' and were not able to interact with other staff members across the school, many had to eat lunch alone in their own classrooms. School leaders restricted access to their staff rooms, and in some cases closed them entirely. 

Throughout the pandemic, school leaders and other educational professionals have worked tirelessly to implement ever-changing government guidance and to keep all members of their community safe. They supported the most vulnerable, ensured that children were fed and effectively reinvented how education was delivered in a matter of weeks. The demands placed on them were enormous, as you know. 

These latest comments by Mr Fabricant have done enormous damage and are entirely unjustified. 

I assume that given your knowledge of what actually happened in schools during the national lockdowns, that you will be looking to set the record straight publicly and to address what is frankly a slur on the teaching profession. 

I look forward to hearing from you on this matter in due course. I have also written directly to Mr Fabricant asking him to substantiate these claims or to retract them immediately. I include a copy of that letter for your information. 

Yours sincerely,
Paul Whiteman
General Secretary, NAHT

First published 13 April 2022