Backlash as Daily Mail uses front page to call for teachers to be allowed to return to work

PUBLISHED: 15:24 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:24 15 May 2020

A picture of the Daily Mail front cover; Twitter

A picture of the Daily Mail front cover; Twitter

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The Daily Mail has been fiercely criticised after using its latest front page to call on “militant” unions to give teachers the green light to return to classrooms.

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People have been fuming over the Tory-supporting newspaper’s front page calling it “disgraceful” and ‘divisive’.

The cover page reads: “Magnificent staff across the nation are desperate to help millions of children get back to the classroom - but militant unions are standing in their way.

“To them, the Mail implores... Let our teachers be heroes.”

The paper accused unions of “playing petty politics” before urging teachers to “find their voice” and return to work.

The front page comes as teachers and unions debate the safety of returning students to classrooms following advice from education minister Gavin Williamson to reopen primary school by June 1.

Many have taken to social media to criticise the tabloid.

@TechniallyRon wrote: “Nice to see the Daily Mail has gone from weird racist nonsense paper to actively trying to kill all teachers.”

Vince Maple slammed the idea that protecting school staff and children as “militant” was “particularly disgraceful”: “Somehow looking to protect hard working school staff and children is ‘militant’ - I’m not a fan of the Daily Mail but this front page is particularly disgraceful in this current time of global pandemic.

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“Before anyone returns to the ‘new normal’ - full safeguards must be in place.”

Enda McCallan, who appears to be a teacher, said he was “broken” by the front page.

“I’ve spent the past months organising online lessons, reassuring anxious GCSE students, phoning houses to help and support, going into school to teach the children of key workers,” he shared on Twitter.

“I’ve been working hard, trying to do the best for those whose education and wellbeing I am responsible for.

“I would love to be in school. However, I do not want to be there unless it’s safe for me, those children and their families. I do not want anyone to get ill or die because the right wing media need a scapegoat.”

Even politicians dipped into the debate. Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy posted: “The Daily Mail should be ashamed of this. Our children and their teachers will not be divided.”

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner wrote: “Teachers are already heroes, nobody needs the Daily Mail peddling their divisive anti trade union rhetoric at such a sensitive time.

“It’s not ‘militant’ to demand safety measures are in place for children and staff alike, it’s not ‘militant’ to protect all children and staff in school.”

Former English rugby union footballer Brian Moore suggested the paper’s readers take up volunteering in schools: “I suggest that Daily Mail readers and columnists volunteer to become teaching assistants and go into schools to make up the shortfall. I’m sure they’re dying to become heroes.”

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