THE HEADTEACHER of Waseley Hills High School has called on the Government to set up an advisory board of teachers, headteachers and teaching unions to consult when it makes decisions on education.
Alan Roll was responding to the latest lockdown which was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 8pm on Monday, giving some headteachers and their staff just over 12 hours warning that their schools would not be fully opening.
Mr Roll said: “Me and my staff had done a lot of work over Christmas to set up a medical unit in school to carry out the lateral flow tests on the students.
“We planned an inset day on Monday so we could get everything ready for the testing regime.
“It took a lot of time and effort setting it all up.”
He said he understood it was ready now and could be used when the majority of students returned and – in the middle of a national crisis – he was not disagreeing with the Government’s decision to close schools to all pupils apart from those of keyworkers and vulnerable children.
“But everyone could see the figures and what was happening with the virus – the decision should have been taken a lot earlier.”
The headteacher also criticised the Government for not delivering on the promises of technology for students who did not have ICT access.
Waseley Hills High received 13 laptops in June and another 47 in September.
“That was good but it was nowhere near enough. In the end we purchased a number of reconditioned second-hand laptops and sent them out to the pupils who needed them.
“Pupils who do not have access to ICT is probably the biggest hurdle we face at the moment – it is not just the computers, but you need the WiFi and the servers – we have upgraded our servers now to enable better online learning.”
Mr Roll praised his staff for the way they had risen to the challenge ‘during a very stressful time to be a teacher’.
And he said the school was much better-placed to deliver quality online learning to its students than it was during the first lockdown in March.
“On the first day we had live online assemblies for each year group and – although it has been a big ask – we are offering live lessons for 50 per cent of the school day.
“It is difficult for the teachers who need to teach both the pupils who are in school and those watching at home.
“But they are doing a fantastic job – it was great to wander around the classrooms and see the smiling faces as they delivered their lessons.”