COVID-19 : NEU report highlights weeks of unanswered questions to the government on the reopening of schools

13 May 2020

The COVID 19 outbreak is a public health crisis quite different than anything Europe has faced for many years. As education personnel and their trade unions grapple with the outbreak, we are supporting and informing member organisations in any way we can.

As many education systems in Europe are bracing for the reopening of schools, education trade unions strive to alert authorities of their concerns and demands, to ensure the return to school is safe for all. In the United Kingdom, ETUCE Member Organisation NEU has, for weeks contacted the government to highlight their views on the safe return to school, with no acknowledgement.

The gradual reopening of schools, in the aftermath of peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, can only be safe if all actors are involved in the process of formulating policies and measures. In particular, education personnel, who are at the frontline of the implementation of return to schools policies, are an essential voice, and their concerns should be acknowledged and taken into consideration.

In this view, ETUCE UK Member Organisation NEU has, in the past six weeks, repeatedly written to the Prime Minister and Secretariat of State for Education, outlining the concerns of their members and parents and carers of school children. These repeated addresses received neither acknowledgement nor answer. On 9 May 2020, NEU has published the full report of their questions to the Government about the impact on children families, staff and the wider community of proposals to re-open schools more widely. In particular, NEU has issued a five tests list, proposing a concrete benchmark for safe reopening of schools.

ETUCE shares the concerns of NEU in light of the UK government’s failure to address the concerns of education trade unions, and has been a vocal advocate for strong involvement of education trade unions in the national reopening of schools, and supports NEU in their demands.

To read the NEU report, please click here 

Get in touch

The ETUCE Secretariat sends solidarity to all teachers, academics and other education personnel and their education trade unions as they react to and tackle this unprecedented crisis. We invite ETUCE member organisations to inform the ETUCE Secretariat about the challenges you face, how you are responding, which good practices you have developed and can share with colleagues, as well as your needs for support from the ETUCE family. Contact ETUCE at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..