Schools Update: June 1 “is too soon” for safe wider reopening

This update includes specific advice for: a meeting for all members on Monday, schools that are pursuing an unsafe wider reopening, vulnerable members (and members with vulnerable people in their household).

All members meeting • Only reopen schools when it’s safe • Resist Tower Rewards • Monday 1 June, 12.30pm
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Yesterday, Boris Johnson announced that the government will be going ahead with plans for a wider reopening of Primary schools on 1 June. The unions have repeatedly raised concerns about opening schools before it is safe.

Scientists in the Independent SAGE have said that 1 June “is too soon” for schools to reopen safely. The government’s own advice says that there is no model for reopening schools that would not risk pushing the Reproduction level of the virus above 1.

The government has chosen to gamble with the lives of members in our community.

Advice: stopping an unsafe wider reopening by using Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996

Draft Open Letter for Head Teachers to postpone reopening
Draft Section 44 Letter for Schools members

Unfortunately, there are a number of schools that are planning a wider reopening of schools before it is safe to do so. If you are in a school where that is the case, members should seek to circulate the open letter above to members.

Firstly, you should circulate the draft open letter for Head Teachers to postpone reopening. If your head doesn’t respond, you should circulate the draft Section 44 letter.

Advice: vulnerable members (and members with vulnerable people in their household).


Unison in Schools have a produced a guide for members in vulnerable groups and template letter wording to send to head teachers explaining personal circumstances. The guide covers those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable or vulnerable, employees who live with/care for someone in a vulnerable group, black employees, older employees (over 60), employees who have childcare responsibilities, and employees who are feeling anxious.

Over five hundred people attend “Only open schools when it’s safe” online rally


Last night, hundreds of people attended our rally organised alongside the National Education Union to demand “Only open schools when it’s safe”. The meeting was addressed by local MPs, GPs and trade unionists. It was a fantastic display of unity against the government’s reckless plans to reopen schools before it is safe to do so.

Mayor Biggs also attended the meeting and was questioned on Tower Hamlets Council’s refusal to call for schools to “only reopening when it’s safe”.