C19 Latest Advice 31-03-20

1. NHS
2. Working From Home
3. Minimum Numbers At School
4. Phoning Families
5. Using Public Transport
6. Living/Carer with/for Vulnerable Groups
7. Supply Teachers
8. Volunteering During Easter 
(Support Staff Paid)
9. Setting Work During Easter
10. NEU ‘Zoom’ Left Mtg


Residents of the Tulse Hill Estate in South London come out onto their balconies to applaud NHS staff fighting the virus 26-3-20 Pic Guy Smallman

1. Our NHS Staff Need Testing & PPE. Clapping Ain’t Enough

The first health workers in Britain have died due to ­coronavirus in a sign of the horrors to come for a woefully underfunded NHS.

Amged el-Hawrani, a doctor based in Leicestershire, died after testing positive for Covid-19 at the ­weekend. His case follows the deaths of London-based surgeon Adil el-Tayar and Essex GP Habib Zaidi.

Meanwhile, West Midlands nurse Areema Nasreen was fighting for her life in intensive care after ­contracting coronavirus.

Health workers fear that more of their colleagues will die ­without the proper personal protective ­equipment (PPE).

Ealing NEU is asking YOU to clap this Thursday and also do a short video clip of yourselves, not just saying thank you to all Health Workers for putting their lives at risk for us, but demanding the Government tests and provides them with the necessary PPE. Please forward it to me and I will put them all together and send to all the local Ealing Hospital unions as well as social media AND the Government.

(Have you noticed the lack of black faces in the media when health workers are recognised and thanked?)

2. Working From Home

Below are extracts from the recent joint union advice to schools (NAHT ASCL – headteacher unions – & NEU)

“Children and young people have very different home lives and very different levels of parental support. It is not feasible to carry on as before during this crisis. We cannot ‘home school’ the nation’s children.”

* “Children in school will not be following a normal timetable – with lessons and homework.”

* “It is not reasonable, or feasible for schools to continue to provide a ‘normal’ school education during this time.

*…..”particularly pupil’s access to technology which may have changed as whole  families are working from home”.

* “Schools need to be mindful that their staff will have demands and pressures of their own, such as childcare and so it may not be possible for them to work a ‘usual’ school day.

It is entirely reasonable to be asked to work from home, however what is possible will depend on personal circumstances. Please contact your school rep and /or me if what you are being asked to do is ‘unreasonable’.

3. Minimum Numbers At School?

The Government and Ealing are advising a generic ratio of 1:10, not including those pupils who need one to one support; a ‘First Aider’ needs to be on site too. It also makes sense from a safeguarding position that if there are less than 10 pupils then there must still be two staff members present even if there is no requirement for a “one to one”.

If there is more staff than necessary then the school is putting lives at risk and more pressure on the NHS. Contact your school rep and me.

4. Phoning Families

Below is the appropriate extract from the joint guidance.

“Teachers should not be asked to personally contact individual students on a daily basis, except where they have agreed with their head teacher a system to contact vulnerable children and families. Teachers should not use personal phones or emails for this contact. It is extremely important that all schools remind their staff and pupils of their policies for safe internet usage and review whether any specific changes to the policy need to be made to take the new circumstances into account.

I am in discussion with Ealing regarding using your phone but blocking identification before calling and a crib sheet plus a set of protocols. What is absolute is that you do not use your personal phone ‘un-blocked’ and you do not teach live to a class on line. We have had to represent members at Gross Misconduct hearings who have.

5. Using Public Transport

a) If you can get to work using alternative means e.g. walking or cycling then you should.

b) If your bus and/or tube is empty enough for you to practice social distancing of two metres all the way there and back then use public transport.

Otherwise stay at home, not to do so is putting lives at risk and extra pressure on the NHS.

6.  Living/Caring With/For a Vulnerable Person

If you live with someone or care for someone in the vulnerable group, then you must self isolate, not just ‘shield’, for 12 weeks otherwise you are putting that vulnerable persons life at risk. This is also agreed joint union advice. Please see Ealing NEU and Government website for a lists of those in the vulnerable group.

7. Supply Teachers

The Government’s ”furlough” scheme to support employees unable to work appears to cover supply staff. Analysis of the available Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance strongly indicates that supply staff will be covered within it. Keeping checking the National Website for updates.

Joint Union Advise States:

“All supply teachers must be fairly treated– kept in post, supported if unable to work and employed as a key part of local authorities’ response to this crisis.”

8. Volunteering During Easter

Your headteacher cannot compel you to work during the Easter break. Teachers are legally protected by the ‘Burgundy’ Book and support staff by the ‘Green Book’. If you feel you have been pressurised, then please do contact your school rep and me.

Nonetheless Ealing NEU does strongly urge teachers to volunteer if you can, both at their school and with Ealing. Click HERE

Previous teachers have fought and won the rights we are now benefiting from i.e. full pay not counted as sickness if you have an infectious or contagious disease. Our Sisters and Brothers who are key workers need us if they are to feed and keep us all safe.However for Support Staff Ealing NEU agrees with UNISON that support staff should be paid. Almost all Support Staff are on term time contracts.

The Joint Union Advise States:

Staff holidays should be operated on a rota basis so that staff get two weeks off, either before, during or after the period when the school would normally be closed for Easter. Having weeks rather than days off will offer significant benefits in protecting staff health through minimising the extent of contact with different colleagues. It should not be assumed, however, that staff can change their plans, even during the current situation.

9. Setting Work During Easter

Don’t! All exams; SATS, GCSE & ‘A’ Levels have been cancelled, the curriculum has been suspended. It is highly unlikely that schools will resume before May perhaps even September. This is an immensely unique and stressful for situation for families. The NEU advises against setting work during the Easter Break. Please contact me if your school is insisting otherwise.


Please invite those you think will be interested.

1st April 2020 @5pm

The NEU Left is hosting a second Zoom meeting this Wednesday.  It will be focused on how we’re delivering Education during the current crisis and how as Education trade unionists we can support the community response to the crisis.

Please find joining details below, and note that we hope to widen the participation of this meeting to ordinary school members and Reps.  Please invite any in your area that are doing good things and could contribute positively.  We don’t want to just hear from the same people.

Join Zoom Meeting HERE

Meeting ID: 128 105 924

Password: 050160

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