If you have issues with your employer, please raise them with your UNISON rep or local branch for advice and assistance. If you have issues with your employer, please urgently raise them with your UNISON rep or local branch for advice and assistance. Good employers will recognise the benefits of retaining experienced and committed staff and should consider the childcare needs of all staff when planning for the winter term and beyond. by dedicated school transport, they mean services that are used only to carry pupils to school. There is additional advice published by the Department for Education on cleaning the environment, which includes toys and equipment. © Copyright 2021 Privacy policy This would not be fair on staff or pupils. Many UNISON members will be entitled to paid dependant leave due to agreements negotiated with their employer, so please seek a copy of any related policy. Where bubbles/small classes remain, the school must do a risk assessment to ensure that any adjustment to ‘normal’ routine and/or staff moving between classes/bubbles does not increase risks. Unions with members in the education sector are today (Wednesday) publishing a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools. For example, a child/young person with an EHC Plan may present with underlying health problems that would put them at risk should they be exposed to Covid-19 unnecessarily. UNISON believes that when a pupil or member of staff develops coronavirus symptoms or receives a positive test result within a bubble the rest of the bubble should move to studying from home. "The impact on teachers and other workers in the schools and on parents [of catching the virus] is bad. On the other hand for some children the routine of coming to school may be necessary to meet their needs or they may need access to therapies and resources that are only available at school. The government has asked schools and childcare providers to provide care for children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. Unions with members in the education sector today (Wednesday) published a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools. Schools must comply with Government requirements, by ensuring that staff and pupils in Year 7 or above wear face coverings in communal parts of the premises and on dedicated school transport and taking other measures to reduce mixing and maintain social distancing. UNISON’s advice is that employers should instead seek to maintain smaller groups – preferably no larger than a normal class in primary and KS3 and half a year group in KS4. This means that if you are employed under Green Book terms and conditions and are required to self-isolate you will continue to receive your normal pay. The DfE guidance is confusing and provides too many caveats (i.e. Leader of Kent County Council Roger Gough has asked Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to keep all the county's primary schools closed, saying it is "very hard to justify" having some open while others were closed. Now, schools can now reopen if their county has a case rate below 28. Maximum efforts need to be made to ensure that there is a fully integrated system nationally and locally. The DfE has now stated that the national restrictions mean that all children who can stay at home should stay at home. If your employer still refuses, contact your local branch. Statement passed at Tower Hamlets Unison Schools Meeting on 15 April All education workers are understandably angered and shocked by the government’s plans for a reckless wider reopening of schools on June 1. If there are no school-based reps then schools should contact the local UNISON branch. UNISON is clear that HLTAs should not be expected to lead classes on an indefinite basis, although we are also aware of the importance of protecting the integrity of any classes/bubbles as much as possible in current circumstances. UNISON is therefore calling on school employers to require contractors to pay full sick pay and the real Living Wage as a minimum (as part of our Clean Schools, Safer Schools campaign). Unison, GMB and NASUWT have also all called for the reopening of all schools to be postponed. As part of school reopening planning schools chose from different scheduling models for blended learning. Today’s statement is signed by GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, … Note you may also be able to access financial support from the charity if you need it. The DfE’s guidance has a section called ‘Prevention’ which specifically deals with this. Joint union letter asking the Secretary of State for Education what scientific advice the DfE sought and received before making decisions about school attendance, Letter setting out schools’ H&S responsibilities and responding to Gavin Williamson’s claims about union advice, Joint union advice on medically vulnerable and higher risk groups for schools and colleges. In addition, this period should not be recorded as sickness absence and should not therefore be counted against your sickness absence entitlement or be used in any other procedure i.e. UNISON is producing further guidance on the deployment of teaching assistants. If small classes/bubbles continue, then ideally the allocated teaching assistant should provide this cover. (AP) - Rural Modoc County in far northeastern Northern California plans to allow the reopening of schools, hair salons, churches, restaurants and the county’s only movie theater on Friday. COVID-19 advice for school & early years staff, the national restrictions mean that all children who can stay at home should stay at home, should be closed except to vulnerable and key workers’ children, safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, joint union guide for vulnerable employees, Department for Education (DfE) guidance on schools reopening, checklist to help with carrying out risk assessments, Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement 2019. Your school has a legal requirement to update its risk assessment to include additional/revised control measures needed for the school to remain open safely and to consult with trade unions. are still being paid by the school, so contracted staff should be fully paid. We are calling for a review of the size of so called ‘bubbles’ and restricting further the number of children in these groups. Talk to your UNISON branch if you are unsure what your rights are. If you have any concerns, contact your local rep or your branch. We will continue to place pressure on the Government and employers to ensure this. DfE guidance does allow for settings to reduce capacity when staffing is a problem. The Local Government Association (LGA) has advised employers to follow the same guidance they circulated during the March lockdown for clinically vulnerable staff. In their view such cases only include: where a pupil becomes ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while at school, and if 2 metres cannot be maintained; or where a pupil already has routine intimate care needs that involve the use of PPE. UNISON has been engaging throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with the Department to ensure that the concerns of our members are heard and acted upon. Staggered start times and transport schedules could cause problems for parents with children of different ages at the same or other schools. Businesses must follow state guidelines and are required to fill out a Safe Reopening Plan before resuming operations. But we don’t believe this should be necessary and the employer should facilitate your request for flexible working to facilitate your childcare responsibilities. Please raise this with your school. The risks are too high. Education unions agree statement on the safe reopening of schools. Private outsourced catering, cleaning, IT companies etc. We are concerned that the widening of the definition of vulnerable category is being driven by the government’s complete failure to roll out IT equipment to all children in need, despite having 9 months to sort this. Sufficient transport provision must be made available to avoid any overcrowding and allow safer travelling for staff and pupils. This is so financial barriers are removed to enable outsourced staff to self-isolate in cases of local COVID outbreaks. Educational provision is maintained for children during this time away from the classroom e.g. Please see UNISON’s Cymru/Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland websites at the links above for further information on restrictions in these countries. capability etc. If you receive a notification from your employer that says you hours will be cut or you are in danger of losing your job, contact your local branch straight away for advice. UNISON believes that schools should permit and encourage staff and eligible pupils to use the app, following the DfE guidance. Early years staff must have the same rights and protections as other education staff. But echoing his health secretary Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson insisted "schools are safe" and that the "risk to teachers is no greater than it is to people in any other line of work". There is also a model letter for you to send to your employer should you need it. In light of the important change in the Government’s position, which we welcome, some previous national health and safety advice no longer applies. Eleanor Busby, PA Education Correspondent. The measures we have argued for throughout this pandemic to make schools safer should still apply during this lockdown. The DfE has not issued specific advice to schools about employees whose children are unable to return to school. The call to delay the reopening of schools was supported by Unison, as the union's head of education Jon Richards said: "The Government must end its … We  expect that changes which impact on others should be discussed with all those affected, and that the local UNISON reps/contact should be involved. A face mask (which is PPE) is provided on the basis of risk assessment as necessary to minimise the risk of infection. Schools Update: keep organising to stop an unsafe wider reopening of schools on June 1 Download the updated Unison Schools Open Letter for school groups Last Friday, we had a fantastic meeting with 282 schools members joining a Zoom call addressed by Dr Jackie Applebee, NEU branch secretary Alex Kenny, and our branch secretary, John McLoughlin. Joint Statement on the Future Wider Reopening of Schools. It is important that face coverings are used in addition to other protective measures and that wearing them does not lead to the relaxation of social distancing and regular hand washing, etc. However, we believe that schools should also consider extending this policy to younger pupils. UNISON is concerned that DfE advice for September states that bubbles can potentially be as large as entire year groups and that staff can move between classes and year groups. All evidence to date suggests that ventilation is hugely important in helping reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading (risk decreases outdoors). The Department for Education have published new guidance for schools on restricting attendance during the national lockdown. Please note that we are currently updating these FAQs in light of the new DfE guidance. UNISON strongly disagrees with this guidance. Primary opening should also be held back. GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, UNISON, Unite. Under the new lockdown rules all clinically extremely vulnerable employees should now be working from home (or working from home on full pay if their role cannot be done from home). That is why we are calling on schools to carry out role-based risk assessments. If women are disadvantaged because their employer does not agree to reasonable flexible working arrangements to allow them to balance work and childcare, they may be able to claim indirect sex discrimination if reasonable attempts to resolve the matter individually or collectively do not resolve the issue. Department for Education guidance does not mention schools carrying out individual risk assessments for vulnerable school staff – despite the fact that government advice for businesses reopening advises them to consider vulnerable groups. In schools where there have been a high number of cases of children needing to isolate, there may have been a downturn in demand for school meals due to fewer children buying them. UNISON believes that working from home will also be the safest option for other employees with underlying vulnerabilities or who live with people who are clinically vulnerable. Reopening schools while social distancing children will be ‘painstaking’, admits medical chief. Mass testing is being rolled out at schools that are still closed to prepare for students' return. Rushed government reopening plans have led to guidelines on ‘safe’ class sizes being ignored by some schools, according to a survey published by UNISON today (Friday). Employers must set out how they will manage and reduce any resulting increased risk. This is in line with the NJC Green Book (guidance which covers the overwhelming majority of schools) which states that employers should be fully supportive of employees with childcare responsibilities and consider flexible working arrangements including working from home; adapting working patterns to care for children or dependants; or taking time off, whether this is special leave, annual leave or flexible working. Devolution means that guidance may be different across the four UK countries and updates may be announced at different times. The advice from the Department for Education states that most, if not all, pupils attending special schools/colleges and alternative provision are classed as vulnerable and should therefore be receiving a face-to-face education, if appropriate. All schools should keep supplies of transparent face coverings. It follows a longer statement addressed to the secretary of state for education on Friday (8 May), which fully detailed the principles and tests necessary for the safe reopening of schools. Unison head of education Jon Richards said: "The Government must end its bitty, piecemeal approach and act decisively by delaying the start of term for all schools … The principles and tests include (see notes for the full statement): Safety and welfare of pupils and staff as the paramount principle However, on advice from PHE, the DfE have updated their guidance for schools to state that all children aged 11 and over should wear face coverings on dedicated transport. 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