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Nine unions, including the National Education Union and the National Association of Headteachers, who represent hundreds of thousands of education practitioners in the UK have warned that the government has a “lack of understanding” about the dangers of coronavirus spreading within the school setting and wider community. School leaders believe that 1st June is too early for schools to re-open and have urged the government to step back from plans, saying that they were not consulted about the return date. The unions’ statement also raises concerns that school staff working with young children would “uniquely” not be protected by the same two-metre social distancing rules required in other workplaces. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson insisted a return to school was “the most sensible action” and that the government is following medical and scientific advice, although it has not specified when this advice will be made available. Relations between unions and ministers have been under strain lately, but unions stress that they want to work with the government to ensure reopening of schools is safe. Gavin Williamson has warned against “scaremongering” and insisted that the government’s focus is on children’s education. Read more here.

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