Petition launches to get COVID tests for all education staff

Westminster government’s testing priority list only includes ‘teachers’ for education in England, forgetting the rest of the education team

UNISON has launched an emergency petition calling on Matt Hancock for all education workers to be included as one of the groups named for priority COVID-19 testing.

It takes a whole team to keep schools, nurseries, colleges and universities running, but when the health secretary announced the list of workers that will be eligible for priority testing in England, in education, only ‘teaching staff’ were mentioned.

This completely ignores the fact that over half of the staff in education aren’t teachers.

The union is demanding that when the government announces the full details of priority testing, it includes all education staff – not just teachers.

UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “Once more, the government has shown they don’t understand that nurseries, schools, colleges and universities can’t function without support staff.

“In the spring, we persuaded the government to add education support staff to the list of key workers, following their initial proposal that only teachers would be included.

“It seems we have to remind them again that schools won’t open, classrooms and halls won’t get cleaned and staff, children and young people will be put at risk if support staff are sitting at home wondering where and when they can get a test.”

And Mr Richards concluded: “If only the government realised, once and for all, that there is more to education than teachers.”