Lockdown is easing and a phased return to school has tentatively begun, but when children walk through the school gates they’re entering a changed environment, with classes taught in protective ‘bubbles’ of 15, socially distanced play, and many everyday aspects of school life restricted. The UK government has postponed the full return of primary school children till at least September and, in Scotland, Education Secretary John Swinney has suggested that a ‘blended learning’ model, with children in school for as little as one day a week, may be required for the whole of the next academic year. The prospect of a return to education as we know it seems to be receding ever further into the future.

For this special podcast, Harley Richardson of the Academy of Ideas Education Forum speaks to Liz Cole, co-founder of UsForThem, a new parent-led campaign to ‘get schools back to normal’, and finds out why they think social distancing in schools is both unnecessary and harmful.