With many schools across the country, and in Tower Hamlets delaying plans to reopen, the NEU is continuing to make the case to the government that wider reopening of schools should be delayed until the number of cases is much lower and a robust system of test, track and isolate is in place.
Whatever is happening in your school the NEU is here to support you and your colleagues, to make sure that any arrangements being put in place meet our checklist and are the best they can possibly be for staff and children.
There are four particular priorities for us at the moment – we want to collectivise any concerns that are arising, so we will need to discuss these with members:
1. HELP REDUCE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION
If your head will not delay wider reopening, ask them to make clear what arrangements are in place for testing and contact tracing, and also what will happen if there is a positive test at the school. We should also Insist on group sizes that allow for the maximum social distancing.
2. PROTECT HEALTH & SAFETY
Please make sure that you have checked the schools plans against our checklist and identify any areas where this isn’t the case. Some issues we have picked up are around cleaning and hygiene and the requirement for lidded bins. It is very important that all arrangements are kept under review – we suggest a regular review meeting between NEU Reps and headteachers at the end of each week.
3. SUPPORT FOR STAFF AT HIGHER RISK
The NEU is asking schools to exercise as much flexibility as possible when drawing up staffing lists – we want “Clinically Vulnerable”staff, and those who live with them, to be able to work from home. Updated NEU Guidance is here: Ensuring safety for staff at higher risk
The number of staff in school should be kept at a minimum to meet the needs of those children attending. There is a short period of time between now and the end of term and the vast majority of children will still be at home, so there is plenty of work that can be done from home supporting their needs and learning.
4. WORKING ARRANGEMENTS
We are entering a period of hybrid provision and it is important that working patterns are clear, transparent and fair. Staff who are responsible for teaching or supervising in school should not be expected to supervise work at home. Again we suggest that this is part of the regular review process.
MEETINGS THIS WEEK
We have organised Zoom meetings this week as follows:
9th June 2020