Covid-19: Educational Settings

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:22 pm on 6th January 2021.

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Photo of Rebecca Long-Bailey Rebecca Long-Bailey Labour, Salford and Eccles 1:22 pm, 6th January 2021

Despite serious safety concerns, we were told yesterday that BTECs were still going ahead, only to be told late last night that it was simply up to schools and colleges to decide whether it was safe. The Secretary of State ignored education unions and organisations when they repeatedly told him that it was not safe to reopen schools, colleges and nurseries on Monday, and nurseries are still open in full today, despite widespread anger and disbelief in the sector and without any robust scientific evidence from the Secretary of State that nurseries will not act as a vector for transmission of the virus.

Safety is the Secretary of State’s responsibility. Up to one in 50 people now have the virus, and the number continues to climb. Will he now listen to education unions and organisations, cancel BTEC exams, urgently take the same safety approach on nurseries as he has done with schools, and provide upgraded risk assessment guidance and vaccine access to all settings that are currently open to vulnerable and key worker children?