Covid generation will look back on pandemic 'like evacuees of war': Former Suffolk head

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, welcomed the chang

Geoff Barton has said pupils will look back on the pandemic "almost like evacuees of the Second World War" - Credit: Archant

A former Suffolk headteacher has said pupils will look back on the pandemic "almost like evacuees of the Second World War" as he calls for face masks in schools.  

Geoff Barton, former head of King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds and now general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has said children learning during the coronavirus pandemic will be able to see what they have achieved as part of the "Covid generation".

Mr Barton said: "Masks are one way that we can get more young people in school and remind ourselves that young people are playing a really important role in protecting each other and protecting their teachers.

"It's almost like those evacuees of the Second World War thinking, 'Look what we did, look what we achieved but what we learned through that. We were part of this Covid generation'.

"I think all credit to those young people, and all the staff in school."

Speaking on BBC Breakfast Mr Barton said there is already a "mixed picture" of how Covid-19 is affecting staff absences in schools so far this term.

He said: "Not all schools and colleges are open yet and won't be until Monday so we're not going to get a proper picture of staff absence until next week.

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"There's a snatched snapshot taken from a small number of primary schools earlier in the week that suggested there might be around 10% of the staff absent. The Government itself is planning potentially for 25% of staff."

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