Thank you for contacting me about the calls from education unions to close schools and colleges during the autumn lockdown.
I understand the concerns being expressed by the teaching unions, however I must say I disagree with their stance. Schools and teachers have made a great effort to reopen for the start of the academic year and I think it is vital that children's education is not once again disrupted by a period of school closures.
There is clear evidence that children are much less susceptible to the damaging effects of coronavirus. However they are not safe from the damaging effects that school closures have - on their mental health and on their futures, or for the impact of missed education.
As such I welcome that the Prime Minister has stated his priority remains to keep people in education. Childcare, early years’ settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. The Government's senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be. We cannot let this virus damage our children’s futures even more than it has done already. People are making big sacrifices not just to protect the NHS, but also to allow schools to remain open. I would urge parents to continue taking their children to school and I am extremely grateful to teachers across the country for their dedication in enabling schools to remain open.