Boris Johnson steps in to tackle growing school rebellion over masks
Boris Johnson yesterday attempted to quell a growing school rebellion as hundreds of headmasters continue to enforce classroom mask wearing.
The Prime Minister urged secondary staff to follow new rules that state face coverings are no longer required in lessons.
He believes it is vital that children receive ‘face-to-face education and can enjoy a normal experience in the classroom’.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman added: ‘The Prime Minister also thinks that the schools should follow the latest guidance.
The Prime Minister urged secondary staff to follow new rules that state face coverings are no longer required in lessons.Pupils are pictured wearing them on January 4th after the Government announced pupils must wear masks
‘We’ve been clear that we removed the requirement for face masks to be worn in classrooms and we will remove advice for face masks to be worn in communal areas from January 27.’
His intervention comes as families complain that schools across England are still insisting on masks during lessons as precautions against Covid.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has warned that Department for Education officials will be in touch with schools that refuse to ditch face coverings.He will also personally vet any plans to bring back masks in schools in areas hit by Covid outbreaks.
In a letter to MPs, Mr Zahawi said he had kept his promise not to retain masks ‘for a day longer than was necessary’.
However, he has agreed with public health chiefs that in the event of ‘extraordinary’ local Covid spikes, they will consult with him before recommending the reintroduction of face coverings in schools.
In a statement, Mr Zahawi said banishing masks would ensure ‘children can enjoy a normal experience in the classroom’.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has warned that Department for Education officials will be in touch with schools that refuse to ditch face coverings
The DfE does not have a legal mechanism to force secondaries to follow the new advice, as the introduction of masks was not legally binding either.But it expects schools to adhere to the new guidance unless there are ‘truly exceptional reasons’.
A DfE source said officials would make clear to schools the ‘expectation’ that pupils do not wear masks.
The source said: terbaik sumatera ‘It’s a friendly chat if needed.We don’t want children to wear masks, but we will work sensitively with any schools that are outliers to deliver that message.’ Campaign group UsForThem yesterday said it had been contacted by hundreds of parents whose children’s schools are choosing to keep masks in class.
‘The Department for Education need to mandate that masks are purely voluntary at the choice of the child and cannot be enforced, required or ‘strongly encouraged’ in school,’ said a spokesman.
But the National Education Union yesterday insisted that heads who kept coverings will have used ‘professional judgment’.Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary, said Whitehall ‘micromanagement’ was ‘utterly unnecessary if not bizarre’.
The Association of School and College Leaders said the new guidance put schools in a ‘potentially difficult position’.