Rare message from Prince Philip praises teachers' efforts in 2020

Teachers get the Phil-good factor as Duke of Edinburgh hails their efforts ‘in the most challenging conditions’ in a rare public message following his retirement

  • Prince Philip has praised teachers and staff’s effort during the Covid pandemic
  • The Duke of Edinburgh hailed their ‘selfless dedication,’ in a rare public message 
  • Next term will begin online, before face-to-face learning resumes on January 11 

The Duke of Edinburgh has hailed the efforts of teachers ‘in the most challenging conditions,’ in a rare public message following his retirement.

Prince Philip praised the ‘selfless dedication,’ of school workers as they broke up for the Christmas holidays after a turbulent year that saw classes move online for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by a fiasco over GCSE and A-Level results.

The 99-year-old retired from public duties in 2017 but remains patron o f the Chartered College of Teaching.

Prince Philip, 99, retired from public duties in 2017, but has praised school workers as they break up for the Christmas holidays following a difficult year defined by the Covid pandemic

His message head: ”I commend all teachers and school staff for your professional and resolute commitment throughout the past year to teaching our children and young people in the most challenging conditions.

‘As patron of the Chartered College of Teaching, I wish to thank you all for your selfless dedication and send you my best wishes for a well deserved break over Christmas and the New Year.’

Philip retired from public duties in 2017 and has made few official appearances or comments since. He was last seen in public during the summer when he handed over his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who is patron of the Chartered College of Teaching praised school workers’: ‘Resolute commitment throughout the past year to teaching our children and young people in the most challenging conditions’

His comments follow a year which has seen schools across the country close their doors during the first national lockdown held to combat coronavirus.

When classes returned, schools faced further disruption to academic life whenever a pupil or teacher contracted the virus.

On Thursday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that the majority of secondary school and college pupils will start the new term online and all face-to-face lessons will resume on January 11.

The Government said the staggered return to in-person lessons would allow headteachers to roll out mass testing of children from the first week of term.

Schools and colleges will be able to establish testing to offer students two rapid tests three days apart, with positive results confirmed by a lab-based PCR test. 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘This targeted testing round will clamp down on the virus as students return from the Christmas break and help stop the spread of Covid-19 in the wider community. 

‘Building on the fantastic actions that schools and colleges have already taken to be as safe as possible, this additional testing will catch those who have the virus but are not showing symptoms to help schools and colleges stay in control of the virus throughout the spring term. 

‘The new programme of daily testing for close contacts of those with confirmed cases of the virus will also mean we can keep more pupils in school, the best place for their development and wellbeing. 

‘Over the rest of the academic year and in the run up to exams, it will remain a national priority to keep education open for all, while keeping schools as safe as possible.’

The Duke of Edinburgh’s message comes as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced secondary schools will see a staggered return to classes in the New Year

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Testing in schools is crucial for us to break the chains of transmission and keep students, staff and their loved ones safe. 

‘That’s why we’re supporting schools and colleges in England to offer testing at the start of January. 

‘Rapid testing is a reliable and effective way to identify people without symptoms that we otherwise wouldn’t know about. 

‘By doing this we can help schools and colleges open safely after the Christmas break and ensure there is minimal disruption to our children’s education.’

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