Retired Teachers asked to return and face coverings for year 7 and above
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has said from 4th January, we also recommend that face coverings should be worn in classrooms and teaching spaces where students in year 7 and above are educated. The advice is short term only and will be reviewed on the 26 January, in line with the review on Plan B measures.
I understand that many of you and your staff are worried about the Omicron variant and the difficulties this could bring when education and many childcare settings re-open. We all know that face-to-face education is the best way for children and young people to learn and that we have to balance this against wider public health risks brought by Covid-19. I want to reassure you and your staff that enabling face-to-face education and childcare is my absolute priority. You have already done an outstanding job in implementing measures that have helped to keep children and young people in face-to-face environments and you have my continued support in keeping your settings open.
I understand that a possible challenge for keeping young people in classrooms is staff absence, which is why I am continuing to call on any former teacher who can do so to come back to the classroom. You can support this effort by using your own professional and personal networks to encourage others to sign up to offer temporary help.
However, if operational challenges caused by workforce shortages in your setting make delivery of face-to-face teaching impossible, I would encourage you to consider ways to implement a flexible approach to learning. Flexible delivery involves utilising all your available teaching and non-teaching workforce to maximise on-site education for as many pupils as possible while you flexibly deliver provision either on-site or remotely to some pupils.
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