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Greater clarity about protective steps to keep pupils and staff safe is urgently needed

Today (Monday 23 March) schools are closed for the vast majority of pupils. School leaders’ union NAHT has conducted a snapshot survey of its members to provide an accurate picture of what provision has been made for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers.

More than 3,350 responses revealed that:

  • 94% of schools have been providing emergency cover
  • 94% of them have less than 20% of their usual children attending
  • 58% of them have less than 25% of their usual teaching staff – 80% have less than half their usual teaching staff

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders union NAHT, said “It appears that the vast majority of families have responded to our appeal not to send their children to school, and we thank them for that.

“We continue to encourage all parents who are key workers to seek alternative arrangements for childcare where possible. Taking your child to school should remain an option of last resort.

“Schools have opened their doors to care for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers that were unable to put in place alternative childcare arrangements.”

Clear guidance

Mr Whiteman continued: “What schools desperately need now is clear guidance on how to keep the pupils and staff that continue to attend school safe.

“School leaders are crying out for sight of the expert medical evidence on safe levels of attendance and density, and want practical advice on protective steps they should be taking in schools.

“From masks or other PPE, to distancing children from each other, to sufficient supplies of soap and hand sanitiser, schools urgently need answers to their questions about effective safety measures.

“We also need the government to provide further guidance for special schools and those providing Alternative Provision as we know many of these are currently open to a higher percentage of pupils.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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