Now unions call on ministers to shut down nurseries in battle to stop Covid-19 cases soaring
- Petition demanding Government close nurseries has reached 90,000 signatures
- Boris Johnson said more restrictions being considered to combat surge in cases
- National Education Union also called for nurseries to close to ‘get cases down’
Nurseries could be forced to close following pressure from unions for ministers to treat them the same as schools.
Boris Johnson said more restrictions were being considered to help combat the surge in Covid cases, adding: ‘We’re going to keep the rules under constant review. Where we have to tighten them, we will.’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has asked ‘whether nurseries should be open’, and a petition demanding the Government ‘close all nurseries and early years settings in light of the new lockdown to protect early years staff’ reached 90,000 signatures last night.
Keir Starmer said nurseries ‘probably should be closed’ as tougher restrictions are considered
Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the National Education Union, said yesterday that he thought nurseries should shut ‘to get cases down’.
He also backed Labour’s calls to expand furlough provision for working parents.
Local authorities have also expressed concerns about keeping early-years settings open, with Brighton Council taking the decision to shut the seven nurseries it runs.
Meanwhile the council in Greenwich, south-east London, which was involved in a dispute with ministers after it attempted to shut its schools early before Christmas, has also challenged the Government over the wisdom of keeping nurseries open.
Leader of the borough, Danny Thorpe, has written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, asking: ‘Much of the local and national concern has been around schools reopening, rightly putting the safety of our teachers in the spotlight once again, but what about the safety of our early years practitioners?’