'Premature and potentially reckless' - anger as bubbles scrapped in schools

Children in a classroom

Some are angered by the fact that Gavin Williamson has made the decision to scrap bubbles in schools from July 19 - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Schools will no longer be required to have different bubbles or staggered break times as Suffolk moves into the final stages of the government's coronavirus roadmap.

Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson announced in the House of Commons earlier today that class bubbles will be scrapped from July 19. 

Speaking for the Suffolk National Educational Union, Graham White said: "It is premature and potentially reckless, given the number of cases already and the government seems to be predicting that it may rise to a 100,000 cases a day - it just seem reckless to take the bubbles away. 

"If they were going to take the bubbles away and replace it with something rigorous than that would not be quite so bad. 

Graham White is from the Suffolk branch of the National Education Union

Graham White is from the Suffolk branch of the National Education Union - Credit: Graham White

"But there is nothing in his statement that I have seen that replaces the bubbles with stricter social distancing, mask wearing or jabs for children. 

"We do not know enough about the spread of the Delta variant which seems to be caught by children as well as adults.

"The safest thing to do is once someone shows symptoms you isolate the whole of that particular bubble. If they don't show any symptoms you could then shorten the isolation period, but that is not what Gavin Williamson is saying."

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Geoff Barton, general secretary of the association of school and college leaders and former headteacher of King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, said: "These rules represent a significant relaxation in the Covid controls that schools and colleges have to follow, which will understandably be greeted with some trepidation after the events of the past 15 months."

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has said the decis

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has said the decision to allow mock exam results for A-level students is "bewildering". Picture: PHIL MORELY - Credit: Archant

However, Mr Barton believes the time is now right to move on to stop the constant disruption to children's education. 

He added: "We have to put an end to the educational disruption that has blighted the lives of children and young people during the pandemic and it simply would not be fair to them to continue with the current controls when the adult population is largely vaccinated."

There are some teachers that are welcoming the change of rules on July 19. 

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership, said the current system of school bubbles has said the current system just is not working. 

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership. Picture: UNITY SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership. Picture: UNITY SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP - Credit: Archant

"The current system of school bubbles and isolation has created a scenario where you can count the number of positive cases on one hand, but the number of students isolating going into the hundreds," Mr Coulson said. 

"This could not carry on and I am pleased that the Government has addressed this situation with the plans to end school bubbles.

“We also welcome the early announcement which comes before the end of term so we can start planning for the new school year in September.”

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