Education unions, associations and representative bodies have joined forces today to call for teachers and education staff to be prioritised in phase two of the country’s vaccination programme.
The government has said that it is a national priority to reopen schools and colleges, when safe to do so. Currently, no decision has been taken on the future prioritisation of phase two vaccinations. Today, Association of Colleges alongside ASCL, AELP, HOLEX, Landex, Natspec, SFCA, Early Years Alliance and GMB UCU, Unison, Unite and NEU have written to the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock and Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson in a joint letter calling on the government to raise the priority level for all staff in early years, school and college settings to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
The letter sets out the case for prioritising teachers and staff – stating “vaccination prioritisation, combined with mass testing, would be a sure way to reduce transmissions, remove any further disruption to the education of our young people and to support the resumption of economic activity by reducing the burden of home schooling on working parents.”
All organisations agree that this proposal is the right course of action for students, education staff and the wider communities in which they study and work. The group are inviting the government to work with them on the issue of vaccine prioritisation.
Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes said:
"The strength of feeling from all voices within the education sector on vaccinating teachers and education staff could not be clearer. Today's letter is a sign that prioritising vaccinations for teachers and staff who work in education is the best way to support the national effort to reopen all education settings as soon as it is safe to do so. As part of a wider plan that includes mass testing and all of the measures schools, colleges and other providers are taking, this prioritisation will be a key part of reducing transmissions and reducing any further disruption to students’ learning.”
The full letter is available below.