Why haven’t we shared the open letter? Why didn’t we do it earlier? After all we signed and shared the previous @SafeEdForAll open letter, back in February, right?
2 Reasons –
1) We take what we do as volunteers very seriously, and therefore consider the content of any document we sign very seriously too. 2) We have some legal and ethical concerns which we raised with @SafeEdForAll and they have unfortunately felt unable to answer.
Our message to @SafeEdForAll –
Hiya! So we've had a read through your open letter, and whilst it’s raising some important issues, we’re a bit worried about a few aspects.
Infringement of BBC Editorial Guidelines, Section 14: Independence from External Interests
The BBC Promotes Us For Them
This news story included a link to far-right astroturf campaign group Us For Them. This raises considerable concerns given the groups close links with anti-vaccine proponents and anti-lockdown lobbyists. Details of these relationships can be found here: bylinetimes.com/2021/01/21/par…
These letters have been sent to some home educating parents.
We note the offer of mitigations, we would be interested in which mitigations? And are they going to be standardised?
Do they take into account the spread of Delta in schools and its increased severity and transmission rate?
This is further proof of the soaring deregistration rates due to the failure to provide safe spaces for children to learn in.
Closed, Crowded and Lots of close contact, no masks or ventilation investment. Its a hodge podge of standards, similar to the remote learning provision..
Our childrens education has been thrown into #Covidschoolchaos
*No funding for mitigations to schools with squeezed budgets.
*No where near enough laptop and Internet provision
*Random experimental trials without full consents being gathered.
After founding our parents Facebook group on 3rd May 2020, our members started telling us about Covid cases in their schools. Their comments were usually followed up by them posting a link to a local newspaper report of the case.
We are hugely grateful to @LaylaMoran for her response to our evidence submission on attendance fines being imposed on parents with CV/CEV family members, and the off-rolling of some children in these families.
@LaylaMoran kindly relayed the outcome of her meeting with @NickGibbUK. We are pleased that the Minister stated that Head Teachers do have discretion & agrees that "the more appropriate thing for headteachers to do is to grant a leave of absence for the child" @NAHTnews@ascl
And of course we are pleased to see that @NickGibbUK stated "it was wrong for schools to forcibly deregister or off roll students that weren’t coming to school for CEV/CV relative reasons".
However we - and our members - have still have questions, and some significant concerns.
Clinicians, academics and experts, students, campaigners, political and public figures, grandparents and parents have all decided to join our call for a sensible, safe and sustainable return to schools.
Top scientists, campaigners, politicians and over 500 parents, carers and grandparents have already signed our open letter to the heads of all UK Education Ministries. Read it and add your signature here.
* practical and emotional support to the members of our 23,000 strong Facebook group of parents and carers of school age children
* up-to-date, accurate information on current affairs and scientific developments which impact on safety in schools, through our social media channels
* educational support to members of Ed2 Learning Support Community
* liason with legal experts who are supporting ourselves and families in taking legal action against the Department for Education
* a website which includes campaign information, support resources and news articles - including those written by ourselves
We are saddened that the signatories of the letter do not appear to have channelled their energy into encouraging innovation in distance learning and support which could serve to bolster children's mental health in order to limit some of harms caused by isolation.
That the potential for the Internet to be used as a "fantastic communications tool" and provide "a creative and visual style of learning" affording "a positive and interactive experience" as identified by @ProfTanya in the Byron Review has not been celebrated is a travesty.