We cannot emphasise strongly enough how grateful we are for everything you are doing for your staff, students/pupils and the community.
The NEU wants wider school reopening to begin as soon as it is safe to do so. But your safety, that of your students, their families and society as a whole, must be our priority.
Use our joint checklists and advice to discuss wider opening with your NEU workplace rep, colleagues and school leaders and make sure it is safe for your school to reopen. There are separate checklists for primary schools, reflecting the DFE advice published for primary schools, for secondary schools and for special schools and PRUs.
You should also read our guidance on the position of vulnerable people as well.
We know you will recognise the need for full consultation with staff and safety to be assured. Wider opening should only happen when national tests are met and there is full compliance with the checklist.
Other advice to help you as a leader
The NEU’s guidance on coronavirus is being constantly updated. It gives links to NHS and DfE guidance as well as NEU answers to important questions including on employment matters. Many apply equally to leader members as employees.
This will help you understand the actions we are asking your workplace reps to take and the assurances we are asking them to seek. Where you think there is no simple answer on a particular issue, then say so - this will offer at least some reassurance that matters are being considered and advice sought and followed.
Keeping premises safe requires thorough risk assessments which seek to identify the specific risks posed by COVID-19, put appropriate control measures in place and make plans for further action as needed. All staff must know about their role in implementing these measures and matters must be kept constantly under review
Consult union reps and staff generally - their views and expertise should help inform them. If you delegate the responsibility for overseeing this area of work to someone else, make sure everyone knows who that is and they work with colleagues in the same way.
The NEU expects leaders to continue to establish rotas in full consultation with staff. Read our earlier joint advice with ASCL & NAHT on this and other matters.
The NEU continues to advise that all teachers, leaders and support staff who are vulnerable due to underlying health conditions or who are pregnant, and those who live with or care for vulnerable household members, should not be required to go into the workplace. They should be allowed to work from home.
Where staff are absent, please follow our guidance on pay and sick pay. Make it clear that you intend to do so – and that absences won’t be counted for sickness monitoring purposes. Be flexible and generous with leave of absence for those who need to care for others.
Make sure you consider all those at particular potential risk, and don’t assume you know everything about everyone – ask people if they have information to volunteer about themselves. Respect the medical advice they receive – and their own views and fears.
Try to use supply teachers to cover vacancies. And, if you terminated any engagements which would have continued but for this crisis, please re-engage them. That will ensure you are following Government advice but more importantly it will help them cope with some very difficult months - and it won’t cost the school more than planned.
The NEU has produced joint advice with LGA and other unions on resignation dates.
Please email the National Official for leadership members email@example.com with further suggestions for matters on which leaders need support.