Schools will’send whole-year groups home’. Classrooms may be prioritized by age with students returning to distant learning in the face of rising Covid cases, teachers unions say.

  • Geoff Barton of the Union said exams for students would be prioritized
  • He warned schools that they could be redirected to distant learning as a whole in January
  • Many schools have prepared contingency plans to allow remote learning. 
  • This comes as Omicron is being spread by Christmas parties 

Headteachers could send whole year groups home if Omicron leads to staffing shortages at schools next month. Union bosses warn.

According to education leaders, the Prime Minister has been warned that exams will not be taken by students who have already registered for them.

Although the government insists that schools must be kept open, it is the greatest threat to education if Omicron variant cases rise and staff absenteeism or isolation increases. 

According to the latest DfE statistics, 2.4% of English teachers and school leaders was absent due to Covid-19-related reasons in December 9th. This is up from 2.5% on November 25,

While unions warn that schools may return to distant learning in January, one head of a union has stated schools would be forced to prioritize certain years. 

Unions say entire year groups of school students could be sent home by headteachers if the Omicron variant leads to a shortage in teaching staff when schools return next month

Unions claim that entire school year groups could be sent home if Omicron leads to a shortage of teaching staff.

Rising Omicron variant cases has lead schools to plan for worst case scenarios in January

Schools have begun to prepare for the worst in January because of rising Omicron variants

Geoff Barton is the General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. He told the Telegraph that heads teachers were not only hoping for the best, but also planning for the worst. If there are teacher shortages, they could send entire years groups home.

 He told The Telegraph: ‘If you have a fixed pool available of those who can teach young people, then the only final resort schools and colleges have is to start thinking about the certain year groups that should be prioritised in the short term.’

According to Mr Barton, one way to approach the problem is to have students who take exams in Year 11 or Year 13, stay at schools to receive face-to-face instruction while those of younger years are sent home for learning remotely.

He stated that he felt it was his duty to young people taking GCSEs/A-levels.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Barton stated that schools should not be treated as other components of the national infrastructure.

He said, “There are a few of these teachers. We know that some schools ran with 25% staff even during the Christmas week.”

“That means that in certain cases, 30 staff members won’t be able to work. This is not sustainable even before Christmas. We don’t know how the next week will turn out. 

‘We’re not catastrophising that but we are saying we must have a real sense of realism around this.

According to reports, the Prime Minister told Nadhim Zahawi, Education Secretary that he was ‘absolutely determined’ to get children back into school and that maintaining schools open is his ‘number-one priority.

However, hours later, headteachers’ unions warned that rising Covid cases may force them to close anyway – even without national restrictions – due to staff sickness.

Unions have warned that whole schools could return to remote learning in January despite Boris Johnson vowing to keep them open

Unions warn that schools may return to remote learning, even though Boris Johnson promises to keep them open

The Omicron variant is likely to spread quickly during Christmas celebrations, which are feared by many.

Many schools are already preparing for remote learning, and many have sent textbooks home in advance.

It is believed that Mr Johnson, Mr Zahawi discussed schools every day. A source said to the Sunday Times: “There’s a shared commitment across government for them to stay open.

Yesterday’s statement by Mr Barton was that “Schools must be the last to close under any restrictions.” However, words don’t suffice.

“The government must support this goal with material support in order to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Geoff Barton, head of the headteachers union ASCL, said schools will be forced to prioritise those students who are taking exams while other year groups are sent to learn from home

Geoff Barton is the head of ASCL’s headteachers union. He stated that schools would be required to prioritize students taking exam while others year groups will go to home to study.

“Otherwise, the risk is that schools won’t have enough staff to run them fully. 

Paul Whiteman of NAHT said: “It seems as though turbulent waters lie ahead, and that some kind of disruption at the beginning of next term looks sadly inevitable… Omicron will have an effect, but it would be foolish to assume otherwise.

Kevin Courtney of the National Education Union called for masks to be worn in schools and for Covid victims’ close contact to be isolated for “the best chance of limiting infections.”