THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER AND TRANSPORT CONCERNS.
Join us for this in-person AoI Education Forum event as Liz Cole and Molly Kingsley discuss their new book, The Children’s Inquiry.
Liz Cole and Molly Kingsley are parents, writers and co-founders of UsForThem, a campaign group set up to defend the welfare of children during the pandemic and school closures.
They describe their new book, The Children`s Inquiry, as an account of catastrophic societal failure to protect and care for our children during the Covid-19 pandemic period, by the state, the civil service, political parties and the health service.
Many adults will find the book uncomfortable reading: it is scathing of adults at large, and within that schools and teaching unions. The charge being that adult society, including in some cases educators and those charged with protecting and safeguarding children, failed to advocate for children’s interests in their hour of need.
Is this a fair characterisation of the teaching profession during the pandemic? Liz and Molly have agreed to enter the lion`s den that is the Education Forum, lay out the case for the prosecution and be cross-examined by the audience.
So, do teaching unions bear responsibility for the thousands of young lives damaged mentally, developmentally and socially as a result of the school closures for which they lobbied? Did the pressure to close schools for so long amount to an abandoning of pupils, including those with complex special needs, to isolation and long-term damage? Or is there a danger that we exaggerate and catastrophise the long term effects?
Liz and Molly also accuse some of those who were central in pressing for school closures of now trying to revise history by denying they campaigned to close schools in the first place. Who is right? But what about teachers who died of Covid or contracted ‘Long Covid’ in school? Would the death toll of teachers have been much higher if schools had remained open? Or was a spirit of public service, and commitment to our unspoken social contract to protect the young, sadly lacking in too many adults – including some within the teaching profession?
Finally, were school closures an error of judgement that was sufficiently consequential and foreseeable that we can`t just shrug it off as a bad dice-roll?
This is certain to be a very lively and important discussion, so we hope you can join us.