A teacher has slammed the government’s handling of school closures in a sweary rant.
Teacher Lee Parkinson described the government’s flip-flop over the back to schools decision as ‘one of the most stressful weeks of all our careers’.
The Davyhulme Primary School educator shared his strong thoughts on the matter on his popular Facebook page ICT with Mr P, reports the Manchester Evening News.
In the video, he says that the last few days have made ‘an Ofsted inspection led by Gordon Ramsay seem a walk in the park’.
He then goes to share a recap of the week, starting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Sunday that schools would remain open, and teachers welcoming pupils back from the Christmas break on Monday, only for them to suddenly close just hours later.
“Cut to 8pm and we’re being told the majority of children are going to have to learn from home once again,” he said. “Here we go again. At least they’ve given us plenty of notice – what a couple of hours!” he rants.
Lee said the move left school leadership teams rushing to put together lists of key worker and vulnerable children while the government said it needed time to update its own guidance.
“Nice one,” he said. “Imagine if we used that excuse for parents. ‘Parents, don’t worry about remote learning, we’ll sort something out in a few days, just give us a bit of time’.”
And he criticised the updated list schools have been given about which children are entitled to school places, saying it ‘pretty much makes out that if you’ve got a job, you are a key worker’.
“I’ve seen more coherent and competence guidance from EYFS children (Nursery and Reception) scribbling on a piece of paper with their own faeces,” he said.
Lee, whose Facebook page on which he shares light-hearted posts about school life has become a massive hit with teachers and parents, said that within hours of the PM’s speech, teachers had to start teaching remotely while also teaching children in class – ‘effectively doubling their workload’.
And he said that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s comments about reporting schools to Ofsted were simply ‘pitting parents against teachers in a time when we should be working together’ and showed a ‘complete and utter lack of understanding of how schools work’.
He said: “Gormless Gav stands up in Parliament and states that if parents aren’t happy with remote teaching, they can go and complain to Ofsted. Cheers Gav, thanks mate, that’s all we need.
“It’s hard enough trying to teach these children remotely – while they’re still waiting on the laptops you promised them in September.”
Declaring that he ‘doesn’t swear’, he then puts on a face mask and launches a sweary yet bleeped out rant at the government.
But he’s not used his platform simply to make a dig at ministers, Lee, who runs his own training consultancy helping teachers make the most of technology, urges fellow teachers to remember that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and they should focus on what is ‘achievable’ for both staff and families, who are ‘going through enough stress’ at the moment.
“Teachers and schools need to prioritise one thing and it’s not Ofsted and it’s not Gavla or the DfE, it’s the children, what is going to work best for them and what is the most achievable for us as staff,” he said.
Teachers should ‘not be trying to replicate the school day,” he added, stressing ‘the most important thing is making sure all of our children are safe, happy and well’.
Lee, whose video has been viewed and shared thousands of times told the MEN: “This week has been one of the most stressful in my whole career as a teacher.
“That seems to be the same for so many school staff given them amount of messages I’ve received this week.
“I just had to put into words what I think a lot of teachers have felt this week with the hope it resonates, makes teachers and parents realise that they’re not alone and understand that no one has the right answers, this is going to be a steep learning curve for everyone but the best thing we can do for our pupils is work together.”
The Department for Education has said it expects schools to ‘work with parents’ to ensure that anyone who is entitled to a school place can access one, but ‘if critical workers can work from home and look after their children at the same time then they should do so’.
It says it has already delivered more than 560,000 laptops and tablets to schools and local authorities, with an extra 100,000 being distributed this week.