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jan 11

unison schools reopening

UNISON welcomes this change as wearing face coverings will protect drivers and other transport users. Notify all staff and keep them updated on any development. Rushed government reopening plans have led to guidelines on ‘safe’ class sizes being ignored by some schools in the East of England, according to a survey published by UNISON today. "Bringing all pupils back into classrooms while the rate of infection is so high is exposing education sector workers to serious risk of ill-health and could fuel the pandemic," they said in a statement. Unison will negotiate with providers who are struggling on how they can get the bet from these schemes and save jobs. If this evidence doesn’t exist, then the government cannot and must not put the safety of staff and local communities at risk. Reopening schools could fuel pandemic and put staff at serious risk, unions warn UNISON, UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY. You can also contact your local UNISON health and safety rep or local branch for further information and support. The risks are too high. We are therefore urging school leaders and headteachers to implement the following measures to protect pupils and staff from the new Covid strain: In special schools and alternative provision it will not be possible, or even appropriate, for every child to receive face-to-face provision every day. 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. The Department for Education (DfE) wants children back in primary schools in a phased reopening starting next month, ... and the public service union Unison… Today’s statement is signed by GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, … Members who are unhappy with proposals or are aware that their school has not talked to the union should contact their branch. Terms and conditions. This includes ensuring that safe ratios are met, and/or specific training undertaken, for any interventions or care for pupils with complex needs where specific training or specific ratios are required.”. 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. Early years staff must have the same rights and protections as other education staff. It has been signed by UNISON, AEP, GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, … 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). It uses Bluetooth technology to track contact between app users, alerting individuals when they have come into ‘close contact’ with someone who has subsequently tested positive for coronavirus. We are calling on the government to include early years staff as a priority group for both testing and vaccination along with all other education staff. Please read the detailed advice we have produced for vulnerable employees. UNISON is concerned that the government is placing a heavy responsibly on schools without additional support and resources to deal with local outbreaks. Where schools have the option of closing school based nurseries we would strongly recommend that they do so. Please contact your branch and let them know. Yesterday, Education Minister Kirsty Williams, said schools will move to online learning until 18 January but UNISON says there is no way the essential preparatory work to ensure schools are safe to re-open to all pupils could be undertaken by then. are still being paid by the school, so contracted staff should be fully paid. 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. UNISON also believes this will be the safest option for some other employees with underlying vulnerabilities. Some schools did not give a definite plan for having their staff regularly tested. For this to work, groups need to be as consistent and as small as possible. image caption Schools in England began reopening to some year groups in June. They too should be supported by a teaching assistant. Put protocols in place for drivers/escorts to report to staff if any child is unwell on a journey to school, including isolating other student son the transport, the driver and escort. Schools should seek to achieve both ventilation and thermal comfort – by opening windows and doors (where fire regulations permit it), keeping heating on and taking other steps to ensure constant flow of fresh air throughout the building. Please see UNISON’s Cymru/Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland websites at the links above for further information on restrictions in these countries. Schools should, in accordance with the Health and Safety Executive Committee guidance,  permit staff and pupils to wear face coverings anywhere in the premises in all schools and settings if they wish to do so. If small classes/bubbles continue, then ideally the allocated teaching assistant should provide this cover. 2) A National Plan for social distancing. Six unions are urging the government to "pause" the return of pupils to classrooms until the they can guarantee their safety. A face mask (which is PPE) is provided on the basis of risk assessment as necessary to minimise the risk of infection. Unison, GMB and NASUWT have also all called for the reopening of all schools to be postponed. UNISON believes that schools should permit and encourage staff and eligible pupils to use the app, following the DfE guidance. The DfE guidance also states that any members of staff who have helped someone with symptoms, or pupils who have been in close contact with them, do not need to self-isolate unless: they develop symptoms themselves; if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive; or if they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace. UNISON and other schools staff unions believe that schools should also: Employers must protect people from harm in the workplace. Schools must ensure that they always have adequate supplies of PPE available. Unions with members in the education sector today (Wednesday) published a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools. Unison members in schools and nurseries throughout Dundee are to meet this week to discuss the implications of schools reopening. Your School should supply the necessary equipment to enable you to work from home as illness and caring duties permit and accept that some staff may have to be at home on full pay where such work cannot be found. There is additional advice published by the Department for Education on cleaning the environment, which includes toys and equipment. UNISON believes the DfE guidance for schools on carrying out risk assessments is inadequate. We continue to push hard on all these issues. UNISON believes that schools should undertake an individual risk assessment for any staff member who requests one, for example if they or someone they live with is in a vulnerable group (please see separate FAQ on vulnerable and higher risk groups). If you have not been spoken to about your risk assessment or had a risk assessment prior to your school opening, you should speak to your head teacher and request that a risk assessment is done before you return to work. Exception; Please contact your school for details. Please note that we are currently updating these FAQs in light of the new DfE guidance. In addition, this period should not be recorded as sickness absence and should not therefore be counted against your sickness absence entitlement or used as part of any other procedure i.e. If there are no school-based reps then schools should contact the local UNISON branch. UNISON is producing further guidance on the deployment of teaching assistants. Coronavirus Education Staff: Evidence re scrutiny of reopening of schools and ELC settings and associated issues 4 June 2020 Kay Sillars UNISON’s survey of education staff shows the vast majority are anxious about plans for more children to return to schools and nurseries. The DfE has now stated that the national restrictions mean that all children who can stay at home should stay at home. Schools must take steps to provide remote learning to students who are not in school or college. Primary opening should also be held back. With smaller class/bubble sizes and the promised speeding up of test results this would be a sensible measure to reduce the potential spread of the virus across the school, hopefully preventing the need for a full closure of the school. Settings will also need to re-assess the risk to vulnerable staff and allow home working where possible. UNISON has issued a joint statement calling for government reassurance that schools will not be completely re-opened until it is safe for staff to return to work. Significantly the government and Public Health England have now admitted the role of airborne transmission, particularly in poorly ventilated places where groups of people spend long periods of time together (this crucial new information is particularly important for schools). It Some schools are operating an adjusted timetable to maintain smaller bubbles and facilitate PPA time. 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. Close contact means within 2 metres of someone for 15 mins or more. The pandemic has affected everyone in different ways, and you might need support with anxiety about being in the workplace, stress from juggling caring responsibilities or coping with bereavement or isolation. Just reopening a school for in-person instruction on its own is not going to address the issue of safety,” Newsom said, promising sanctions for schools that don’t follow safety rules. Agency staff will, alongside other school-employed staff, play a vital role and UNISON is arguing that you should be kept on full pay during this period. Unions with members in the education sector are today (Wednesday) publishing a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools. Please also see the FAQs in the section below called ‘Special schools/colleges and alternative provision’. Teaching assistants may also be deployed to lead groups or cover lessons, under the direction and supervision of a qualified, or nominated, teacher (under the Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012 for maintained schools and non-maintained special schools and in accordance with the freedoms provided under the funding agreement for academies). But we don’t believe this should be necessary and the employer should facilitate your request for flexible working to facilitate your childcare responsibilities. We are also concerned at the potential increased risk to school staff whose roles mean social distancing will be extremely difficult, (if not impossible) for example those supporting pupils with medical needs, or carrying out one-to-ones or group work. If you have issues with your employer, please raise them with your UNISON rep or local branch for advice and assistance. The arrangements adopted by schools for minimising contact and maintaining social distancing are vital for staff and student safety. For many children they would be better served by receiving a remote education. 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. Unions have claimed that a full reopening of schools in England could put teachers at "serious risk" of falling ill with coronavirus and could "fuel" the pandemic. UNISON is very concerned that the government’s outsourced testing and tracing system is not currently fit for purpose. Today’s statement follows a longer statement to the Secretary of State on Friday (8 May), which set out in full detail the principles and tests necessary for the safe reopening of schools. For more information about your rights at work please visit our dedicated web page. If you have any concerns about your educational setting or need support please contact your branch for advice. The DfE has provided guidance on using the app in schools. Schools should also follow alerts from the app to self-isolate when directed. The prime minister has announced an easing of lockdown and the relaxation of … 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. Six trade unions have released a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools and slammed the government for its “chaotic handling” of the return of children to the classroom for the start of term this January amid the Covid crisis. The government is showing a lack of understanding about the dangers of the spread of coronavirus within schools, and outwards from schools to parents, siblings and relatives, and to the wider community”. 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". UNISON strongly believes that the DfE guidance is not sufficient and that full PPE must be available for anyone supervising someone with symptoms as staff cannot predict if they will need to get closer to pupils. Under normal circumstances, schools are required to put additional staff into their timetable to ensure that teaching continues during PPA time. The PPE required will depend on the nature of your role and should be issued where the risks you are exposed to make it necessary, such as cleaning staff and anyone administering first aid, medical care or personal support for special needs pupils. Also see the government advice on COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings. (See links at the top of the page for advice in Scotland, Cymru/Wales and Northern Ireland.). Your employer has a legal obligation to carry out a risk assessment. Reopening schools could fuel pandemic and put staff at serious risk, unions warn. 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. This is so financial barriers are removed to enable outsourced staff to self-isolate in cases of local COVID outbreaks. Any redeployments should not be at the expense of supporting pupils with SEND. Reopening schools could fuel pandemic and put staff at serious risk, unions warn. Rather, pupils should carry out a pre-prepared exercise under supervision. Rights at work under health and safety responsibilities to return to school are consenting their. On our website to ensure this decreases outdoors ) believes the DfE has now confirmed all! Has insisted schools are required to work, groups need to be postponed and equipment monitoring situation. Concerns, contact your local unison rep or unison branch in education have published new guidance for on. 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