1. Video NEU Message From Kevin & Mary
2. New Ways of Organising School NEU Groups
3. Headteachers Union Urges for Co-operation not Compulsion of Staff
4. Should I stay At Home, Will I Get Paid?
5. How Will Schools Work?
6. What Happens At Easter?
7. Supply Staff?
8. Home Learning Resources
1. Do listen to this excellent video message from Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted NEU Joint General Secretaries
2. Organising As A School NEU Group During This Crisis.
In the next few days all school reps will have been shown how to access their members school list from the national website and been emailed the list too. We must set up WhatsApp groups and call virtual union meetings either via telephone or video conferencing (Zoom). I am contacting school reps from Sunday evening about doing this. We are also asking all members to personally update their personal details on the NEU national database. I will soon be sending you an email with the details we have of you. If they are inaccurate or parts missing, then there will be a link and instructions as to how you can update your details.
3. National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) Advice To Their Members
We expect all headteachers to negotiate and work with NEU School Reps about all matters arising from this crisis – this will only work with the maximum buy-in. This is supported by the NAHT advice to headteachers,
“It will be impossible to build the team response you will need if you rely on compulsion. That will lead to resentment and people will simply stay away using “isolation” to legitimise their absence. This effort cannot be about compulsion. Success will be borne out of mutual respect, understanding and support.” – NAHT
The NEU welcomes this advice. If your school is imposing rotas and plans and/or there are aspects to the arrangements you are worried about, then call a school union meeting using “Zoom” or telephone conferencing and contact Stefan Simms on 07817 643 546.
4. Should I Stay At Home Will I Get Paid?
I think I Am In The Vulnerable Group List
You must self-isolate if you are in the vulnerable group listed by the Government for 12 weeks. The Government says you do not need a medical note. You should though inform your headteacher and if and where possible offer to work from home. The list of all those who should self isolate for 12 weeks is confirmed by the Government click this link HERE. You will be paid as stated in the ‘Burgundy Book’ for teachers and ‘Green Book’ for support staff. Ealing LA also confirms you will be paid click HERE to see for yourself.
What If I Live With Someone Who Is In The Vulnerable Group?
The government guidance is contradictory. It states that where possible you should work from home. It doesn’t take much of a logical leap to assume that if we are meant to practise social distancing in order to suppress the spread of the disease and are asking vulnerable people to practise extreme social distancing in order to “shield” themselves from serious and possibly fatal illness then those that live with and/or care for them should be allowed to work from home.
Indeed, it is inhumane to expect education workers to put their loved ones at risk. Furthermore this would put the NHS under more unnecessary pressure. Boris Johnson has gone on record again (last Friday afternoon) strongly repeating his advice that we should all stay at home where possible.
However the Government does not explicitly say that teachers who live or care for someone in the vulnerable group should self isolate. Ealing to their shame are advising headteachers to insist that you should still attend work.
The NEU is appalled and utterly opposed to this. I have sought advice at the highest level in the NEU regarding this awful situation. If your headteacher is insisting on your attendance despite living with or caring for someone in the vulnerable group then approach your school rep and raise this in the school union group; WhatsApp, telephone or video conferencing. (Not got a school rep then please contact me). Then go back to your headteacher and ask them to reconsider as a school group. If that does not work then approach your Chair of Governors as a group and contact Stefan Simms.
I have the symptoms of the virus or I live with someone with the virus
If you have the symptoms then you must self isolate for 7 days. If you live with someone who has the symptoms then you must self isolate for 14 days. As above you will be paid and you do not need a doctors note. Please though inform your headteacher immediately. Please see NHS link HERE. If possible you should offer to work from home.
5. How Will Schools Work?
The NEU School Group Must Be Involved In The Decision Making
The situation will be changing on a daily basis and we believe that NEU Reps should be as close to the decision making as possible. Successful planning for the next few months is going to rely on a lot of goodwill from staff, so it is important that decisions are not just imposed upon us, but are subject to discussion and agreement. We recommend that NEU Reps ask for regular meetings with your head to discuss operational plans.
The rotas for next week should be voluntary and discussed and agreed with staff not imposed upon. Only if and when there are not enough volunteers should your headteacher direct staff to work.
The NEU recommends:
- That where possible you do not attend next week if you travel to work using public transport. Otherwise you are helping to spread the virus.
- The suspension of curriculum and assessment of all kinds. Fun creative learning activities are order of the day. Please see scroll down for Home Learning Resources.
- Having small enough numbers and groupings that hygiene and distancing measures can be observed.
- PPE equipment in early years and SEND groups
- Provision for testing and all hygiene needs ie soap, warm water, hand dryers, etc
- Shutting down if risk assessment shows it is less safe to be open than closed
6. What Will happen At Easter?
The Government has said they want schools to remain open during the Easter break, however the Government has not given any more information. It is important to stress again that how this works is not imposed upon us, but negotiated with us. At the same time it is vital that our NHS colleagues, who are literally on the front line, and other key workers, are able to work in order to save lives and keep us all safe and fed. So I do urge you to volunteer if you are able to do so.
Support Staff (almost all will be on term time contracts) cannot be made to work during the Easter Break.
Teachers cannot be made to work during the Easter break.
Leadership Scale staff can be made to work during the Easter break.
7. Supply teachers/staff
There was welcome news from the Chancellor of the Exchequer last Friday afternoon, we hope this will apply to you and will be seeking further clarity. In the meantime urge your headteacher to use supply teachers and agency staff as much as possible.
8. Home Learning Resources
This comprehensive list comes from parents who home school their children. I hope they are useful.