Medics struggling to get their children school places because classes too full

Intensive care nurses and doctors are spending their breaks and days off trying to secure lockdown school places for their children because schools are too full, according to one hospital worker.

A nurse, who works on a University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust intensive care ward, told LeicestershireLive she had to fight to get her young son into the classroom, but other colleagues haven’t been able to due the children of other key workers taking up spaces.

“It took lots of calls and lots of emails and eventually me talking to the chief executive of the trust for them to let my son go to school,” the nurse, who did not want to be named, said.

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“I think around 25 per cent of my colleagues can’t get their children into school.

“They are spending their breaks and days off trying to sort this out so that they can be at work saving lives.

“Everyone at work is talking about this, it’s very difficult for parents as a lot of us working on intensive care and in the hospital have partners who are also working for the NHS or are key workers.

“We have gone from being applauded and sent free food and having all the support to having to fight to get our children a place at school so we can continue our work.”

As reported last week, some schools have up to 70 per cent of pupils attending lessons, despite the latest national lockdown.

The Government’s expansion of key worker criteria is one of the issues education bosses say is to blame.

Chair of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Resilience Forum Education Group Jane Moore told LeicestershireLive the demand for on-site learning across the city and county was ‘significant’.

“School leaders are working exceptionally hard to ensure those children who need to be learning on-site can be and that they have access to quality remote learning.

“But parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.

“This is a real moment for us to work collectively, keep schools safe and reduce transmission.”

She added: “We know some schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have had requests for up to 70 per cent of their pupils to be on-site learning whereas for others the numbers are more manageable.

“That is why we are working closely with school leaders to make sure children are safe and we have as many children learning at home as possible in order to keep transmission down.”

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The nurse, said she was prompted to contact LeicestershireLive after reading her UHL colleagues share their harrowing experiences of life on the frontline.

“Everything they say is true. It is impossible not to think about work when you are not there and even on your breaks.

“It is very physically demanding and emotionally demanding, we are holding patients’ hands as they ask us if they will die.

“We are seeing the fear in their eyes as they are told that they are very poorly.

“The days are very exhausting, at home there is no time to rest as we have to teach children and lots of people have no one to look after their children because their schools don’t have places.

“It is very difficult.”

In a UHL board meeting last week, acting chief executive Rebecca Brown told health bosses that support was available for colleagues struggling to get their children school places.

If you are working on the frontline in the fight against the virus and want to share your story, email newsdesk@leicestermercury.co.uk or message us via the LeicestershireLive facebook page.

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