Update 7th December 2020


With the end of term approaching , it may be difficult to organise any social events in school, but if you are – or if you want to buy some chocolates, biscuits or other treats for the staffroom we are offering to pay up to £25 from our local budget. If you wish to take advantage of this offer, please send a screenshot of any receipts and your bank details and we will arrange a transfer.


The NEU will support any member who wishes to take the option of working from home. Government advice is that CEV people should work from home where possible and we believe that there is currently plenty of work that can be done from home. If there are any CEV colleagues in your school please advise them to get in touch for support.


A reminder that NEU members at the Support for Learning Service will be taking strike action against cuts to their service on Wednesday 9th December at 5.30pm


Wednesday 9th December 5:30pm

ZoomMeeting ID: 880 6420 3732 Passcode: THNEU

Please show your support for colleagues by coming along. If you, or the SENCO from your school, would like to say a few words about the value of the SLS please let us know.


A reminder that the new pay scales for 2020 should now have been implemented in schools, along with any arrangements for pay progression. Please check the chart with the new pay scales below so members can check they are being paid correctly. Please see here for more advice on pay.

Teacher Pay Scales 2020-21

If there are any problems do let us know – we are supporting members with pay appeals.

You can also get more advice on pay here.


Finally a reminder that we are seeking nominations for ten delegates to represent our District at the NEU Conference 2021 – which is being held online on April 7th, 8th and 9th April next year. Please click here to download a nomination form

Although it is not like the real thing, we do want to send a full delegation – we always encourage newcomers and aim to ensure that the delegation reflects the diversity of our membership.

7th December 2020

Domestic Abuse workplace toolkit

This new NEU toolkit provides a model policy document, a checklist for school and college leaders, a checklist for reps and guidance on how to meaningfully adopt the policy in your workplace.

How to use this toolkit:

  • Print out these NEU postersto raise awareness in your workplace
  • Talk to your union group about why domestic abuse is a whole school/college issue
  • Share the checklist for leaders with your head/SLT and discuss making your workplace more supportive to those experiencing, escaping and surviving domestic abuse.

Share your activities with your branch and email agreed policies to <a href="https://neu.org.uk/equality@neu.org.uk

What is domestic abuse?

Sometimes referred to as domestic violence, domestic abuse in the home can take many forms. The government defines it as “ Any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behavior, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults, aged 16 and over, who are or have been intimate partners or are family members, regardless of gender and sexuality.’ This definition includes so-called ‘honour’-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation. You can find more detail on the types of abuse in the NEU Model Policy Document and Domestic abuse and the Workplace Guide.

Who is affected by domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse happens across all social backgrounds and cultures and causes lifelong harm to victims and their children. Anyone  can be affected by domestic abuse. However, in the vast majority of cases, domestic abuse is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.  

Disabled women are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse. Its estimated that four to nine in every 100 pregnant women are abused during their pregnancy or soon after the birth. Bi women and trans women are also particularly affected.

For other groups of people, the inequalities they face in society ,such as racism, disablism, homophobia and poverty will compound the impact of domestic abuse and pose challenges to seeking support.

What are the signs of domestic abuse?

Here are some possible signs to be aware of:

  • Changes in behavior including uncharacteristic withdrawal, depression, anxiety, distraction or problems with concentration
  • Changes in the quality of work for no apparent reason
  • Arriving late or leaving early
  • Reduced attendance or increased sick leave or high presenteeism without an explanation
  • Needing regular time off for appointments
  • Taking frequent or excessive calls during work time from a partner
  • Repeated injuries or unexplained bruising or explanations that do not fit with the injuries
  • Substance use/dependence
  • Inappropriate or excessive clothing (that might be hiding injuries or bruising)

It’s not easy to spot the signs, or to start a conversation with someone you think may be being abused. Placing these posters in a prominent place and sharing our advice page can offer support and hope to victims.

All of these resources can be found here.

Please use the poster to raise awareness in your workplace.

If you weren’t able to attend the webinar, a recording will be available via our YouTube channel shortly.


SLS Solidarity Strike


Wednesday 9th December

5:30pm via ZoomMeeting

ID: 880 6420 3732

Passcode: THNEU

We are working with NEU colleagues on preparations for their strike action on Wednesday 9th December and would like to get as much support for this as we can from members in schools – here are some things you can do.

BANNER If you would like to take a banner for display in your school please let me know today as we are getting them printed tomorrow – see below for the banner design.

LEAFLET It would be great if you could print off copies of the attached leaflet to distribute at your school.

PETITION Please encourage  members to sign our petition, which now has over 1,500 signatures

CONSULTATION I have attached a model response to the Tower Hamlets consultation -the consultation can be found here https://talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/sls-send

Please encourage colleagues to join the online solidarity rally at 5:30pm on 9th December – if you, or another colleague from your school would like to make a short contribution about the value of the SLS teams to your school that would be wonderful.

We are framing this action as part of the national campaign on SEND funding and we have received many messages of support from NEU colleagues all over the country.

NHS Test and Trace App

A small number of schools have told staff to turn the NHS app off the whole time when they are in schools. This is wrong – Department for Education guidance is clear: pausing contact tracing in schools is only recommended in 3 situations:

  • when an individual is not able to have their phone with them, for example because it is stored in a locker or communal area – this is to avoid the app picking up contacts when the individual is not with their phone
  • when an individual is working behind a Perspex (or equivalent) screen, fully protected from other colleagues and members of the public, as the individual is considered to be adequately protected from contracting coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • in a health or care setting where staff are wearing medical grade PPE (for example, a surgical mask) as these individuals are also considered to be adequately protected

Where mobile phones are allowed to be on and with the student at all times, it is recommended that contact tracing is left on by students, to be consistent with general guidance on the use of the app.

There are still likely to be times when students and staff are not near their phones, such as during physical education or in some work placements in FE.

In these situations, contact tracing should be switched off, and settings might want to issue reminders to pause contact tracing for these sessions and turn it back on afterwards.

Where mobile phones are required to be left in lockers or bags in communal areas at all times. It is recommended that settings advise or require students to pause contact tracing whilst on the premises under these circumstances, to avoid the app misidentifying close contacts. When someone switches it off, the app will give the user the option to set a reminder for 4, 8 or 12 hours, after which they will receive a notification to remind them to switch contact tracing back.

We will issue further updates but please do check the NEU website www.neu.org.uk/coronavirus and contact us if you have any concerns about any aspect of this situation.

Update: 18th November

With the Covid case rate continuing to rise in Tower Hamlets – now at 257 cases per 100,000 – we know that things are becoming more difficult in schools.

Sadiq Khan was absolutely right when he described school staff as heroes for going “above and beyond the call of duty” at our London NEU meeting last week,

Below is an updated joint union checklist which addresses the latest situation and also a short briefing on use of the NHS Test and Trace App in schools.

We are continuing to work with Reps to address issues of concern to members and have been supporting Reps in meetings with headteachers – so please do not hesitate to contact us if there are issues that need addressing in your school.


It is important to note that the provisions for Directed Time for teaching staff have not been abandoned during the pandemic, so schools should be making sure that the core work carried out by teachers falls within the allocated 1265 hours. You can find out more here.

We will be discussing the latest situation and our advice to members at our meeting on Monday 23rd November so please do register to attend.


NEU members at the Support for Learning Service (SLS) will be taking strike action on Wednesday 9th December – this is against the proposals to cut funding which includes job cuts, pay cuts and changes to contracts.

We want members in schools to support their colleagues in the SLS by signing this petition and we would encourage you to call a school meeting on 9th December and invite a colleague from the SLS.

A reminder that we are seeking nominations for ten delegates to attend the online NEU Conference in April 2021 and for vacancies on our Committee.

If you would like more information about this please do not hesitate to contact us.

Coronavirus: what you need to know about pregnancy and maternity

This advice is taken from the national NEU website where you will find a range of resources to support and advise you.

Download the NEU Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts poster:

  1. Pregnant women, women on maternity leave and mothers who are breastfeeding have specific protections under health and safety, equality and employment legislation. Many women working in education also have extra contractual rights. During the coronavirus crisis, these rights, including notice rights, still apply.
  2. Many head teachers and employers are taking sensible precautions and implementing reasonable arrangements to protect the health, safety and welfare of pregnant women and their unborn babies. NEU reps are encouraging this approach and are helping to facilitate dialogues around safe working.
  3. If you are pregnant, whatever stage of your pregnancy, we say you should not be in school if a risk assessment does not support this. Government advice is that pregnant women  should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household. Read the NEU advice for staff at greater risk.
  4. All pregnant women should notify their head teacher of their pregnancy as soon as possible, to help make sure that appropriate steps are taken to protect them and their unborn babies.
  5. Employers have a legal obligation to assess and review the risks at work for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers who have returned from maternity leave. Exposure to Covid-19 does represent a risk to teachers and school staff who are looking after children in schools. Different risks will arise in different education settings.  The NEU has endorsed the Maternity Action briefing: Protection of pregnant women at work
  6. We have agreed with the NAHT and ASCL that those with health conditions which make them vulnerable to being badly affected if they catch the virus should not be included on staff rotas for working in school during a lockdown. The NEU thinks that the same applies to pregnant women. Pregnant women should not be required to attend school during a lockdown or if the risk assessment does not advise that it is safe for them to do so.
  7. Employers can adjust working arrangements to enable teachers and support staff to work from home if it is safe to do so. Extra care will need to be taken to assess any risk that the workspace and available equipment might pose. Many roles can be undertaken from home but if working from home is not possible, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should be offered suitable alternative employment at the same rate of pay, if this is available. If neither option is possible, employers can arrange for women to be medically suspended on full pay for as long as necessary to protect their health and safety. Full pay should be based on usual earnings.
  8. If a pregnant woman is sick, she should receive sick pay. Going onto sick pay while pregnant does not automatically trigger maternity leave. Maternity leave can be triggered early if the baby is born early, if the woman gives notice to start maternity leave early, or if the woman is absent for a pregnancy related reason in the last four weeks of her pregnancy. “Pregnancy-related” could include a medical suspension related to Covid-19 following a risk assessment.
  9. Some members are at risk of redundancy as a consequence of the pandemic. If a woman’s job is at risk of redundancy during her pregnancy or maternity leave, she must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy that is available. Employers are not prohibited from making pregnant women or new mothers redundant, but we have joined a campaign to change the law this year. Follow these links to read our joint briefing and find out how to ask your MP to support the Redundancy Protection Bill.  
  10. While the virus remains a threat and social distancing continues, keeping in touch during maternity leave is as important as it has ever been. Heads and leaders should agree and review arrangements for keeping in touch with women who are on maternity leave with a view to re-establishing normal working arrangements when it is safe to do so.

For more information see the NEU national website pages: Coronavirus: pregnancy, maternity and childcare

Disability History Month 2020

Join the launch event for this year’s Disability History Month.

Access: How far have we come? How far have we to go?

18th November 2020 7pm to 9pm


Micheline Mason Writer, Poet, Activist

Mik Scarlet Broadcaster and Journalist

Marsha De Cordova MP Shadow Minister Equalities

Richard Rieser Coordinator UKDHM

John McDonnell MP Patron UKDHM

Louise Regan NEU National Equality and Membership Officer

Doug Paulley Campaigner for Access

Tara Flood Campaigner Local Government and Access

Dr Armineh Soorenian Author ‘ALLFIE Report on School Access Planning Duty’

Emma Dalmayn CEO of Autistic Inclusive Meets

William Vanderpuye Early Years Teacher

Jonathan Bryan (14) Author ‘Eye Can Write’


1000 places available

To register at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-uk-disability-history-month-2020-tickets-128228084653?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch

Broadsheet for UKDHM 2020  https://ukdhm.org/ukdhm-2020-broadsheet/

Blended Learning: 9th November 2020

We have had a number of queries recently seeking advice on “blended learning”, particularly remote teaching and live lessons.

This is clearly a topic that is coming into much sharper focus in schools as we go further into the term.

Here is some guidance which I hope you will find useful. The first is advice from the NEU and the second is a protocol that has been drawn up by a local school in consultation with staff.

NEU Advice on blended learning

Protocol on blended learning from a local school

It is important that we make sure that any policy on this is agreed with staff and not imposed upon them. At a recent NEU national meeting there was support for these four key principles:

Key principles

  1. Start with the child: their needs and their access to resources and equipment
  2. Take ownership: frontline staff are best placed to decide what is needed and what will work
  3. Informed consent: noone, and this includes staff and students, should be made to do anything about which they feel uncomfortable
  4. Safeguarding: policy and practice in this area should be set alongside safeguarding and safe use of the internet policies.

Please contact us with any concerns you have about expectations for blended learning in your workplace.

We are also considering organising a zoom meeting on this topic.

9th November 2020

Update 3rd November 2020

Our meeting last night was attended by 148 NEU members, which is fantastic and we had a very good discussion about the latest situation facing schools.

Here is a quick report, starting with the things we want Reps to do:

1. Call a meeting for members in your school
2. Discuss the attached motion for school groups 3. Ask members to sign the open letter to Sadiq Khan
4. Encourage colleagues to register for the London meeting with Sadiq Khan
5. Look out for the NEU Reps App to help you in your role
6. Consider the report on our workload survey and any issues for your school

NEU calls for schools to be part of lockdown

The NEU has called for schools to be closed as part of a lockdown or circuit breaker. The Union has done so because ONS data show that schools are an engine for virus transmission.

The latest figures from the ONS estimate that 1% of primary pupils and 2% of secondary pupils have the virus and that these levels have increased dramatically since wider opening in September. NEU analysis of ONS figures shows that virus levels are now 9 times higher amongst primary pupils and an astonishing 50 times higher amongst secondary pupils.
Some members at our meeting last night did not agree with this call by the NEU, so we do want to hear what members in schools think.

Please use the model motion as the basis for discussion with colleagues in your school. If you wish to amend the motion in the light of that discussion, please do so and send us the version agreed in your school – your discussions will help shape what we do.

A London plan

The NEU is writing to Sadiq Khan and London Councils asking them to work with us on developing a sustainable plan for London schools. The plan is outlined in the model motion and this open letter which we want members to signour suggestions are:

  • Regular testing for school staff
  • CEV and CV staff to be given the option of working from home
  • Schools to prepare for moving to a rota system
  • Local Authorities to deploy pools of supply teachers to cover absences
  • Local Authorities to look at using extra buildings to ease crowding and reduce bubble sizes in larger schools

Again we would really like to hear what members in your school think about this – let us know if you have other suggestions.

Survey of safety and workload

We received over seven hundred responses to our survey of members, that is over 30% of members which is high for an email survey. See the link for a draft report on the survey, which has highlighted a number of common concerns – what is clear is that the current intensity of work staff are doing to support children and families is not sustainable.

We will be discussing this with the Local Authority and headteachers and will be proposing that we develop some common approaches across our schools.

We suggest that you share this report with colleagues and try to identify any key issues for your school. We can produce a version of our survey for individual schools – if you would like to do one for your school please get in touch.

NEU Escalation App

Over the last few weeks, National Education Union (NEU) members and reps have asked us to streamline the way members can collectively escalate concerns in their workplace around safety and the growing trend of increased workload as a result of coronavirus.

As a result, we have launched our NEU escalation app which helps groups of members who don’t have a rep and workplace reps to escalate concerns quickly.

Watch our NEU escalation app demonstration video

Read our NEU escalation app FAQs

NEU escalation app FAQs

Who will have access to NEU escalation app?

Workplace reps – and members without a rep in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – will have access to the app. Members that have a rep will be encouraged to speak to them to collectivise around any issue and escalate using the app.

We will send you access to your branch summary spreadsheet of answers shortly and hope that this app will help members and reps in your area escalate over any concerns they collectively have.

How does the app work for reps and members without a rep?

NEU workplace reps and members without a rep will receive a unique link via email and text message for their workplace – please don’t share this as the link is unique to your workplace.

The app will ask you some general questions before asking if there are any concerns in your workplace and what stage, outlined below, best describes which stage you and your members are at.

  • Stage 1: You have discussed your concerns as members and are planning an NEU meeting.
  • Stage  2: Your union group is going to meet with head and/or SLT to raise concerns.
  • Stage 3: Your concerns haven’t been dealt with by leadership and you want to escalate further.
  • Stage 4: Your union group wants further support.

While completing the app, you will be asked if you want support with any of the escalation stages above. Once you have completed it, you will get a thank you email with the answers you gave, and your local branch will also get a copy.

You can update your answers at any time by going back to your app, using the original link.

What happens after a rep or members without rep has used the app?

If you have asked for support as part of our escalation app, you will be contacted by your local branch or region to discuss how to take things forward in your workplace.

We hope this app will help you and your members to quickly escalate concerns you have and ensure we resolve issues for members in timely way. We will be in touch further about this app and its usage in the future.

What data will branches have access to?

You will also have access to a live spreadsheet of all workplaces in your branch that have completed the checklist with all answers, helping you identify where needs support.

As described above, you will also get a copy of each time the app is completed in your area in real time too.


If you are having difficulty with the NEU escalation app and you are workplace rep or member without a rep, please let your branch secretary know via their contact details here

They will complete a form on your behalf which will be dealt with.