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'Bump teachers up vaccine priority list', says Canterbury head teacher Ken Moffat

There will be “no schools left by Easter” unless teachers feature highly in the Government’s vaccination programme, a Kent head teacher has warned.

Ken Moffat, head of Simon Langton Boys’ Grammar in Canterbury, says staff “are dropping like flies” as more and more pupils test positive for Covid-19.

Ken Moffat, head of Simon Langton Boys' Grammar
Ken Moffat, head of Simon Langton Boys' Grammar

An ever-growing number of schools in Kent have already been forced to close - yet teachers are not currently among the nine priority groups for the first phase of the vaccine roll-out.

Mr Moffat said: “To be honest, it feels as if we’ve been forgotten about by government.

“Since the summer we’ve been hearing that schools must remain open and that we will be the last organisations to close and only in the direst of circumstances.

“And yet we’ve exhausted our budgets trying in vain to make schools as Covid-secure as possible and had no recompense from government.”

Currently, 26 teachers from the grammar have been forced to stay at home because of Public Health England rules.


If staff have had face-to-face contact with an infected pupil, or were within one metre of them for more than a minute - or two metres for more than 15 minutes - then they have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Mr Moffat added: “Given that many of our classrooms measure four metres by five metres, you can sense the scale of the problem. Teachers are dropping like flies.

“I have staff who are now in their third period of self-isolation. This is not sustainable. Nor is it good for their mental health.

"If teachers do not feature highly in a vaccination programme, you will have no schools left by Easter.”

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has said prioritising teachers for vaccines is “certainly something we’re looking at”.

Kenneth Lamb was the first to receive the vaccine in Kent. Picture: East Kent Hospitals Trust
Kenneth Lamb was the first to receive the vaccine in Kent. Picture: East Kent Hospitals Trust

On Tuesday, great-grandfather Kenneth Lamb, 80, became the first person in Kent to be vaccinated when he received the first of two Pfizer jabs at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

The Government's vaccine guidance says "occupational prioritisation could form part of a second phase" of the roll-out but would be "subject to consideration of the latest data on vaccine safety and effectiveness".

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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