Boycott Return to Unsafe Schools is a grassroots, parent-led campaign to prioritise the safety of children and education workers, to make sure the most recent scientific advice is communicated and acted upon, and to curtail the spread of COVID-19 by collectively pressurising for a safe, well-planned and transparently communicated return to schools.
The campaign is necessary because of the failure of the UK Government to plan such a safe return to schools in September 2020 as part of a wider failure to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only have the Department for Education repeatedly failed to listen to teachers, releasing a plethora of confusing and unworkable guidance around COVID-19 and education settings, but they have also failed to listen to parents, implementing a poorly-thought-out widespread return to schools in September 2020 which leaves many concerned parents with an unthinkable binary choice.
This choice is either to send their children to a school setting which is unsafe, or de-register them from the school, and lose the child’s place there. (The third choice is not a choice at all: it has been made clear that keeping children off school will likely result in parent fines and possible prosecution).
Since being founded in May 2020 the Facebook group has grown to over 7500 members, our Change.org petition has been signed by almost 100,000 people, and our letter to the Prime Minister has collected 2500 signatures.
We want our children to return to education in a sensible, safe and sustainable manner, with full consideration of the long-term consequences for their health and that of the public.
The UK Government has shown themselves to be working in direct tension with this purpose and as such requires a robust challenge in order to be held to account and improve their decision making around COVID-19 and education. Boycott Return to Unsafe Schools is therefore committed to working on three fronts to achieve a Sensible, Safe and Sustainable return to schools:
- Mounting a legal challenge opposing punitive fines for absence during the pandemic. As part of this, we have delivered to the Prime Minister a letter signed by thousands of supporters, with a Change.org petition with 114,000 signatories, and considerable scientific evidence.
- Proposing a traffic light system which comprises reduced class sizes, increased school funding and the introduction of blended learning. The pressure we applied on this front, across social, print and broadcast media, caused the government to introduce its “four-tier” system (although we are waiting for it to be enacted).
- Collectively supporting parents whose children are unable to attend school (for a variety of reasons). So far we have established Ed2; a resources hub for parents who find themselves in the role of educator, however temporarily.
We welcome your support: please do look at our Take Action section to support our campaigning efforts, and make use of our social media links to connect with us further.