The Labour Leader has said in an article that he supports the decision made by the Government to ensure that children return to schools for this coming term.
In a column in The Daily Mail, Sir Keir Starmer called the gaps in education for children a “tragedy” and said he expects children back in school “no ifs, no buts, no equivocation” in September.
The position is controversial within Labour circles, following calls from unions to delay the return to schools until the conditions become less precarious.
Starmer wrote in the article: “I don’t just want all children back at school next month, I expect them back at school. No ifs, no buts, no equivocation. Let me be equally clear: it is the Prime Minister’s responsibility to guarantee children get the education they need and the benefit of being back with their teachers and classmates.
The Government must learn from the mistakes over the past months and ensure that the next academic year is not disrupted to the detriment of children and families.”
However, Mary Bousted, the Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said during a Zoom meeting recently: “The Government’s making threatening noises about that. But in the end, they won’t be able to carry out their threats.”
There was also a controversial situation within the Labour Party last week, when a document was leaked which showed a Labour Lord advising unions on the best strategies to keep employees at home. Barrister John Hendy QC’s 14-page dossier, as seen by The Sun, told unions how to exploit Health and Safety laws traditionally used by workplaces such as factories to provide grounds for teachers not to return to the classroom. Hendy was given a seat in the Lords by Jeremy Corbyn.
Starmer going head to head with the unions risks splitting the party further, following his installation as Leader early on in lockdown in place of Jeremy Corbyn.