A MASTERPLAN to vaccinate the UK’s entire teaching staff and get kids back into classrooms within weeks has been unveiled by Britain’s top schools.
The February half-term week could see vaccinations administered to the entire educational workforce, including support staff, in ambitious plans drawn up by headteachers.
The proposal could see the entire educational sector vaccinated in a week[/caption]
Headteachers from the country’s most esteemed schools have aided the plan[/caption]
Medically trained staff would inoculate school-workers for 16 hours a day and 150 independent schools and state academies will be transformed into vaccination hubs, under the emergency scheme.
The pioneering vaccination proposal has been drawn up by two academy chains, a private school group, and the esteemed Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference – which represents almost 300 independent schools, including the likes of Eton and Harrow.
Acclaimed private schools such as the Shrewsbury School and Oswestry School in Shropshire, South Hampstead High School in London, Bootham
School in York, Plymouth College and Ipswich School have volunteered as vaccination hubs.
A letter sent by the schools to Mr Johnson, Mr Williamson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock on January 10, said: “The single initiative that could help families cope better with the lockdown, preserve our children’s learning and mental health and help to encourage the economy to restart would be to ensure that schools can open safely after the February half term.”
They also pledged to manage the logistics of the operation, saying the sites have the refrigerators required to store the vaccine and a “large force of medically trained members of staff” to administer it.
At no extra cost to the government, the plans could provide an imperative political lifeline for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
He has come under fire and faced increased calls to fast-track teachers to the front of the queue for jabs, as the educational crisis continues.
Millions of locked-down children are again adapting to remote learning, as schools across the UK remain closed.
Lockdown restrictions are reviewed on February 15 but schools could stay shut[/caption]
The Prime Minister has faced increasing calls to prioritise teachers[/caption]
“Most or even all” of the country’s one million school and nursery teachers, teaching assistants and support staff, including dinner ladies and caretakers, could be vaccinated within the week, according to the brains behind the plans.
The slither of hope comes after ministers have began hushing expectations that schools could reopen after half-term, as originally predicted.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson “hoped” children would be back in classrooms by Easter, somewhat dismissing the February target.
He told BBC’s Radio 4: “I would certainly hope that that would be certainly before Easter.
“Any decision to reopen schools to all children – as all decisions in terms of schools – will be based on the best health advice and the best scientific advice.”
Yet fears continue to rise regarding the irreversible damage of underprivileged children as pupils continue to learn from home.
Anne Longfield, England’s Children’s Commissioner, told of her concern that children in deprived areas “will fall even further behind” their peers, if schools do not re-open after half-term.
Ministers have yet to respond to the plans.
Some officials have warned parents to “prepare to wait until May”, as the government have become increasingly discouraging the idea infection rates will fall quickly enough for schools to open.
The official lockdown review is on February 15 – the date half-term officially begins this year.
Education experts have urged Boris Johnson to back plans to speed up teachers vaccinations, encouraging him to intervene.
A leading historian and former master at Wellington College, Sir Anthony Seldon, said: “It is desperately important to get all schools back fully open for the sake of parents, guardians and their children.
“This is a really magnificent plan. No10 needs to start listening to and
welcoming ideas like this.”
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Former education policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher and chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, Chris McGovern said the proposal was a “no brainer.”
“The Government needs to wake up, get a move on, get a grip and get this done,” he said.
There were no current plans to change the priority order for vaccines, a Downing Street source told the Mail on Sunday.
Educational experts are keen to get kids back in classrooms quickly[/caption]