Even if you don’t have school-aged children (or even if you have the good sense not to study the media as forensically as I do), it is unlikely to have escaped your attention that the country is being plunged into yet another schools’ crisis, as several hundred of the places are now at risk of collapsing upon their inhabitants’ heads.
Made in the post-war decades from a cheap concrete substitute never meant to last more than 30 years (why? We will get to that), hundreds – or even thousands – of schools are now at imminent risk of caving in and so cannot safely educate pupils.
Even though it has been known for decades this was the inevitable fate of these schools, government ministers chose to do nothing about it until mere days before term is due to start, with now scores of anxious families up and down the country being told they will have to find alternative childcare arrangements as of Monday morning.
Whilst a small number of children can be squeezed into alternative local schools, with others offered a “tent-in-the-garden” style experience in the grounds of their dilapidated alma maters, most pupils, ministers admit, will be shunted back into pandemic-style online learning.
To date, the government has ordered 104 schools to close, and with the average secondary school accommodating nearly 1,000 pupils, that’s a very significant number of children who will be learning at home this term, rather than in the noisy chaos of (and here is the kicker) “superspreader” schools.
As I have written about at length, this school term, for the first time ever, the UK Government intends to offer the flu nasal spray to every single schoolchild in the country, including all three million of the nation’s secondary school pupils, something that has never been done before.