Commenting on the government's announcement of emergency powers over schools in the Covid-19 Emergency Bill, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said:
"We are very concerned about the content of the bill and its potential implication for schools. Over the last week teachers and school leaders have played a leading role in the response to this national crisis, and they stand ready to continue to do so. In order for that response to continue to be effective, government must work with the profession.
"It is hard to see how these measures could even work in practice. If there are not enough healthy teachers to run a school, the powers to compel it to open seem entirely irrelevant. Taking powers that are unenforceable is at best pointless, and at worst potentially counter-productive.
"Our sincere hope is that the government will trust school leaders on the ground to make the right decision for the safety and wellbeing of their pupils. Tough words and draconian powers are the last thing schools need right now.”
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