The leaders of Britain’s largest education union today called on the Government to take emergency measures if schools and colleges are to keep safe and open.

The National Education Union, which represents teachers, lecturers and support staff across Oxfordshire, wrote to the Prime Minister today.

The letter said that as the Covid testing regime buckled under the strain of demand, staff and pupils cannot get tested or get results, and schools cannot deal with outbreaks or sustain full opening with people unnecessarily isolating.

With local lockdowns likely but further school closure ruled out by the Government, The union called for the testing regime to be urgently increased for schools. The letter asked for a Plan B for education “that is sustainable in the mid to long term, not just for tomorrow.”

“Time is running out and the Government must act now,” say Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of the NEU. “The union is calling on Boris Johnson to take robust and urgent action to protect pupils, staff and their families.”

The NEU’s letter also proposes “Nightingale Schools” to reduce transmission networks.