While we want schools and colleges to stay open to all students as long as it is safe to do so, your safety, that of your students, their families and society as a whole, must be our priority.
With the reopening of schools and colleges in September, the NEU published its joint union checklist and guidance on September reopening to assist members and reps. The NEU also has advice for staff at greater risk. If you do not have a rep in your school, volunteer to meet your head/principal and go through the checklist. We can support you to ensure greater safety for you, your colleagues and pupils.
If you think that matters are not safe in your school, visit our advice page for NEU reps to read more about what to do next and how to seek support.
We want to see our checklist completed in every school.
Nationally, we will continue to press for full consideration of all relevant scientific evidence on matters like transmission.
We want the Government to plan for alternatives in the event of a second wave or local lockdowns. And we want the Government to accept that some of its recommended measures may not go far enough, particularly as the virus becomes more prevalent as the term progresses.
The checklist is structured around these 10 key points:
- Risk assessments must be reviewed and kept up to date to include additional control measures to support a return to full opening.
- Full consultation with union reps and staff.
- Measures must be in place for minimising contact and maintaining social distancing between adults and students and between students themselves, both inside and outside the classroom, on arrival and departure and on school transport.
- Arrangements must be in place for enhanced cleaning, hand washing and respiratory hygiene such as the use of face coverings and masks, for use of protective equipment and for managing suspected and actual cases of the virus.
- Measures must also be taken to ensure staff wellbeing and avoid increased or excessive workload.
- Plans must be made to deliver the curriculum in a manageable and appropriate way.
- Behaviour and pastoral systems should be reviewed and updated.
- Contingency plans should be made for responding to renewed outbreaks.
Alongside this work at school level, the union is pursuing its 10-point Education Recovery plan for students and their school and colleges.
As we seek to ‘return to normal’, we must recognise that education in the new academic year will not be normal. Additional support will need to be provided and lessons will need to be learned and applied.