The largest union representing teaching and school staff has today backed calls from the Leader of Milton Keynes Council for a vaccine programme to be offered to all staff before schools in the city fully reopen.

All schools across Milton Keynes have been closed for the majority of pupils since the end of the festive break as the town has one of the highest infection rates in the South East. Schools have been at the centre of many local outbreaks and rates in young people have risen as a new Covid-19 variant has spread.

Earlier the Thames Valley region, which includes Milton Keynes, declared a Major Incident, as infection levels rise and pressure increases on the NHS. Despite being in Tier 4 for nearly two weeks infection levels in Milton Keynes still remain very high. 

Cllr Marland has said that before schools reopen fully a vaccine programme should be rolled out to all staff in schools, and to vulnerable pupils, if appropriate.

Now the National Education Union, the largest union representing school staff, has backed his call.

Stuart Coe, NEU Eastern Region said: “The National Education Union has written to the Secretary of State saying that school staff should be added to the priority list of people who can access the vaccine. We support the call by Milton Keynes to roll out a vaccine programme before schools reopen.”

Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council said: “I’m grateful for all the hard work teachers and staff in schools have done over the past ten months. Schools have never been closed to all pupils and teachers have continued to work through-out the pandemic. However, with the new variant it is clear that to fully reopen in the safest way possible, school staff need to be given access to the vaccine. That also applies to all child-care settings. I’m pleased to be working with those representing school staff to make sure we can reopen schools quickly, with a plan, for the long-term in a way that is safe for pupils and staff, and which parents can have confidence in.”

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