Amanda Holden has called on the government to rethink their ‘unfair and damaging’ school bubble isolation rules.
The presenter, 50, is mother to daughters Lexie, 15, and Hollie, nine, and shared a selfie with her girls as she discussed her mission.
Taking to Instagram on Monday, Amanda accused the government of ‘hypocrisy’ as she asked her followers to join her crusade and email their local MPs.
Call to action: Amanda Holden shared a selfie with daughters Lexie, 15, and Hollie, 9, as she called on the government to rethink ‘unfair and damaging’ school bubble isolation rules
Under current rules, if one pupil tests positive, an entire bubble of students must self-isolate for 10 days to stop the spread of the virus.
Penning a lengthy caption, Amanda wrote: ‘Call to Action ⚡️⚡️ sick of hypocrisy?
‘If you feel strongly about #covid isolation in schools, send a letter to your MP (template letter available on Twitter & Facebook – UsforThemEngland) and the Children’s Commissioner – [email protected]’.
The Britain’s Got Talent judge then listed ‘things to mention’, stating: ‘Matt Hancock said we have special rules for elite football because it “brings people joy”.
‘As a parent, what brings me joy is seeing my children happy, healthy and thriving in school.It’s very clear where the government’s priorities lie, and it’s not with children.’
Family: Amanda shares her school age daughters with husband Chris (pictured last summer) and has been upset by the disruption to their education
She continued: ‘An FOI [Freedom Of Information request] in November revealed that the Department for Education is not tracking what ultimately happens to the 30 or so children who are isolated along with the original positive case so we do not even know if this policy of mass isolation of healthy children is effective at mitigating viral transmission, or whether it is proportionate.
‘This unfair, damaging policy needs to be urgently reviewed particularly in the context of the fact that more than 80% of adults now have COVID antibodies.
‘How much longer are we going to destroy children’s educational prospects? Where is the roadmap for stabilising children’s learning? There is none because it is not a priority.
Furious: Taking to Instagram on Monday, Amanda accused the government of ‘hypocrisy’ as she asked her followers to join her crusade and email their local MPs
‘This must stop. Please ask the Secretary of State for Education, Secretary of State for Health, and the Prime Minister to halt this damaging mass isolation policy so that children can normalise and begin to recover from this experience.’
WHAT IS THE ‘BUBBLE SYSTEM’?
Whole year groups at secondary school formed ‘bubbles’ to get all children back in education last September.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson unveiled plans last July for a full return from the beginning of the academic year, with staggered start times and strict classroom rules to minimise the risks of spreading the virus.
Guidance states that 30-strong classes can form ‘bubbles’ in primaries, and whole year groups in secondaries – potentially hundreds of children.
Social distancing rules can be dropped within bubbles to ensure there is capacity, and parents will face fines if they refuse to send their children.
However, whole classes or year groups can be ordered to self-isolate – along with their families – if just two pupils test positive in a fortnight.
Entire schools can be shut, although the guidance suggests it will not ‘generally be necessary’.
Primary schools will be able to operate ‘bubbles’ of more than 30 children, allowing the return of full classes.
Secondary schools, where children move between classes, could operate ‘whole year bubbles’ of more than 200 children.
She concluded with the hashtags ‘#stopisolatingkids ‘#becausechildrenmatter #covid #covidbubble#selfisolation’.
Amanda’s comments come amid a mounting backlash over the bubble system in schools, with a SAGE expert also urging the government to rethink their options.
Professor Russell Viner stopped short of calling for bubble arrangements to be scrapped but said a balance should be struck between how much some measures might protect society and how much they might harm children.
Prof Viner also warned that ditching any Covid rules in schools ‘may be a place we get to in the next year, I don’t think it’s a place we will be in September’.
However, he said that schools were ‘not the driver of this pandemic — infections tend to flood into schools from the community.’
According to Government guidance as of May this year, schools must ‘do everything possible to minimise contacts and mixing while delivering a broad and balanced curriculum’.
They are advised to keep groups in bubbles and to maintain distance between individuals, taking into account pupils’ ability to distance, the layout of the building and the feasibility of keeping distinct groups separate while continuing to offer a broad curriculum.
Bubble arrangements are aimed at making it quicker and easier to identify contacts of positive virus cases who might need to self-isolate.
Staggered start and finish times, avoiding large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship, and keeping distance within classrooms where possible also form part of the guidance.
The current wave that is surging through the UK is being driven by young people who have not been vaccinated.
Rates of infection in the 10-19 age group have more than doubled over the past fortnight and are now 18 times higher than in the over 80s.