Schools and colleges must be closed if the Government imposes another national lockdown, the National Education Union (NEU) has said.
Joint general secretary Kevin Courtney also called for ministers to prepare to introduce school rotas for the end of any new restrictions.
Boris Johnson is expected to outline fresh measures to control the spread of coronavirus at a Downing Street press conference on Saturday afternoon.
He is reportedly considering introducing nationwide restrictions next week, which could see everything closed except essential shops and education settings for a month.
But the NEU said it would be “self-defeating” for the Government to impose such measures while “ignoring the role of schools as a major contributor to the spread of the virus”.
Mr Courtney said not including schools and colleges would likely lead to the need for even longer lockdowns in future.
“The latest figures from the ONS estimate that 1% of primary pupils and 2% of secondary pupils have the virus and that these levels have increased dramatically since wider opening in September,” he said.
“NEU analysis of ONS figures shows that virus levels are now nine times higher amongst primary pupils and an astonishing 50 times higher amongst secondary pupils.
“The National Education Union called for a two-week circuit break over half-term to include schools, which the Wales Government and the Northern Ireland assembly have done – but the Government in Westminster has ignored this call.
“More severe measures are now called for as a result, the Government should not make this mistake again.
“The Government should include all schools in proposals for an immediate national lockdown and as a minimum be preparing for school rotas at the end of that period, including by actually meeting its promise to deliver broadband and equipment to those children who do not have them.
“It is also vital that the Government ensure proper financial support for all those affected by lockdown including crucial supply teachers and other staff.”
Since you are here
Since you are here, we wanted to ask for your help.
Journalism in Britain is under threat. The government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and our media is run by a handful of billionaires, most of whom reside overseas and all of them have strong political allegiances and financial motivations.
Our mission is to hold the powerful to account. It is vital that free media is allowed to exist to expose hypocrisy, corruption, wrongdoing and abuse of power. But we can't do it without you.
If you can afford to contribute a small donation to the site it will help us to continue our work in the best interests of the public. We only ask you to donate what you can afford, with an option to cancel your subscription at any point.
To donate or subscribe to The London Economic, click here.
The TLE shop is also now open, with all profits going to supporting our work.
The shop can be found here.
You can also SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER .