NATIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP: Government urged to ‘come clean’ on rail plans AND state school staff twice as likely to be absent with Covid
Here's your latest headlines update now including: more clarity on rail plans for train travel is called for and state school staff are twice as likely to be absent due to covid than their private school counterparts.
RAIL CLARITY: The Government is being urged to “come clean” on its rail plans amid continued cuts in services.
Train operators including South Western Railway and Greater Anglia have made announcements this week about revisions to their timetables.
Fewer passengers are travelling on the railways and companies are being affected by Covid-related staff shortages.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying it wants answers on whether the Government plans to slash £2 billion from the operating costs of England’s railways.
The union is also seeking assurances that job losses on the railways will not be compulsory.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “The Government must come clean on its plans for our railways. Passengers and staff deserve to know what’s happening to their services and their industry and what level of rail services the Government wants our country to run.
“The Government severance programme for staff across our railways put the cart before the horse – trying to get staff out of the industry without having plans for what operations need to be staffed.
“Our railways are crucial to our economy, our fight against the climate crisis and in keeping our country connected. Cutting our railways would cause greater harm.”
ABSENT TEACHERS: State school teachers are nearly twice as likely as private school colleagues to report high staff absences due to Covid-19, a survey suggests.
Staff absences are more pronounced in the most deprived state schools across England, according to a Sutton Trust report.
Around a quarter of all teachers said they have prepared materials to support remote learning in the last week amid disruption, the poll found.
Many children who need to learn at home because they are isolating are still struggling to access laptops or tablets for learning, the report suggests.
The social mobility charity is calling on the Government to urgently ensure that all pupils have access to a device for remote learning – and that schools have adequate funding to pay for cover for absent staff.
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