Gavin Williamson urged to prioritise school vaccinations by Board president

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Gavin Williamson urged to prioritise school vaccinations by Board president

Community leader says it 'verges on impossible to work at home whilst ensuring their children are continuing with learning'

Marie van der Zyl
Marie van der Zyl

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has been urged to prioritise vaccinations for educators by the President of the Board of Deputies.

Writing to the government minister on Tuesday, community leader Marie van der Zyl said teachers and school staff “deserve to have a safe environment in which to work” amid surging cases of coronavirus.

This comes amid a third national lockdown in which all pupils in England – except children of key workers and vulnerable pupils – have moved to remote education until mid-February amid school closures.

Saying “Education is at the cornerstone of our Jewish community” and “Jewish schools are central to our communal life”, van der Zyl said “there is a strong economic argument for prioritising reopening of schools when virus transmission levels allow.

“For many parents with young children, it also verges on impossible to work at home whilst ensuring their children are continuing with learning.”

She said: “the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) note in their advice published on December 30th that after phase 1 of the vaccine programme, the next phase could prioritise ‘those delivering key public services’.” She said school staff “most definitely fall into this category” and for “staff in all school settings to be prioritised” for a jab in the next phase.

This comes after Williamson provoked anger among school leaders and teachers after he told parents last week that they could report schools to Ofsted if they were unhappy with their child’s remote learning offer during the lockdown. This led to a flurry of 11,000 emails from parents praising online learning efforts by schools.

More than 80,000 Brits have died due to the coronavirus during the pandemic, with almost 2 million fatalities worldwide.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: