Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:06 pm on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine Conservative, Winchester 6:06 pm, 16th March 2020

In the past 24 hours or so, I have spoken to a great number of the headteachers in my constituency. I think it is a fair summary to say that there is support for the decision to keep schools open, and I agree with them. However, there is great concern that no matter what they or we might want, an increasing number of teaching staff becoming unwell and therefore unable to be in school might end up forcing the issue, leaving heads in an impossible position. I feel slightly guilty asking the Health Secretary these questions, but his is the statement we have today. What is the Government’s view on relaxing the student-staff ratio and getting Ofsted off schools’ back now, please. Also, if we were to run a skeleton service in schools to allow key workers to keep working, how are we to define key workers, given that we are in the middle of a national crisis?