As we start the new school year it is important that schools maintain a “cautionary principle” when putting arrangements in place.
The vaccination programme has clearly changed things, but not everyone has yet been offered the vaccine and Covid-19 rates remain high.
Effective safety measures remain important to limit the speed of the spread of the virus and absence due to illness and long Covid.
Everyone wants schools to be able to open and stay open for the maximum numbers of pupils but we must continue to be on our guard and be ready to respond to any developments.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will be contacting Reps to see how things are going – please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns.
JOINT UNION GUIDANCE
Here is the latest joint union guidance which covers such things as start times, movement, large gatherings, lunchtimes, masks and ventilation – this should be useful in discussions with your headteacher.
In addition to this, joint unions have issued guidance on improving ventilation, which is an important factor in reducing risk.
There is also updated guidance for staff who are vulnerable, for whom individual risk assessments should be carried out.
We have produced a September checklist of things for Reps to do at the beginning of term – recruiting new staff, checking directed time calendar and arrangements for pay progression.
Remember we have an extra day holiday this year so the calendar should show 194 working days, rather than 195.
Also, we have an agreement that pay progression should be automatic, unless someone has been on capability during the last year.
FAQs FOR MEMBERS
We have also produced an updated FAQs for NEU members, containing information on terms and conditions.
2021 PAY AWARD
Finally, you may have noticed that the government announced at the start of the holiday that teachers will not receive a pay increase for 2021 – that is right a 0% pay rise.
Not only is this insulting after all the work school staff have done during the pandemic, it will lead to further problems in recruiting new people to the profession.Support staff are also subject to the same 0% pay increase.The NEU Executive will be meeting to discuss the award and how we should respond and we will share further information with you in due course.
In the meantime we would be interested in any feedback you have from colleagues about this.
Our first meeting of this term is on Monday 20th September at 5:30pm via Zoom – please register here.