NEU has raised, with the Department of Education and with the ‘Employer Side’ of the Teachers’ Negotiating Committee, the need for an agreed set of protocols to enable this form of pedagogy to proceed. We expect discussions on this to occur at system level in the near future.

NEU have supported the general thrust of the recent DE Guidance Circular 2020/06 on Curriculum Planning and Blended Learning. We are keen to understand the benefits and disbenefits of ‘live-stream’ teaching more widely, through peer-reviewed research. We are aware of some research that supports an educational benefit from ‘live-stream’ teaching for the rudimentary transmission of information, but that this often lacks the ‘dynamism’ of the classroom, notably when focussing on more complex concepts and where classroom dialogue is much preferable. It may be a pedagogical methodology better suited to small tutorial groups where a high level of trust exists between the participants.

Our experience, across the system, is that a common factor in introducing live teaching is often related to minority, but insistent, parental pressure.

NEU believes that the Covid-19 crisis coupled with the changing world of technology does require an increased focus on remote teaching and learning, but steps must be taken jointly to provide basic protections to teachers through agreed guidance and training in this field.

Pending agreement on system-wide protocols, and going forward, our expectation in respect of live-streaming is that NEU members will:

  • Not be subjected to excessive ‘screen-time’.
  • Participate in the risk assessment pertaining to live-streaming sessions.
  • Be afforded professional choice and that live-streaming be optional.
  • Have total control over all participants microphones and cameras.
  • Be assured that measures will be put in place to prevent pupils or others recording or capturing session stills during live streaming.
  • Have written consent from parents or guardians allowing children to participate in training and live streaming.
  • Know that parents and pupils agree to the behaviours expected from them and their children when live-streaming.
  • Expect any abuse or misuse to be dealt with under the school’s pupil behaviour policy,
  • Not be required to take part in live-streamed, one to one, tuition.
  • Not to be required to teach large numbers of pupils.
  • Be assured that live streaming is only used when essential, and only when it is viewed as the most effective means of lesson delivery.
  • Be able to disguise their homes with different or anonymised backgrounds.
  • Work remotely only during normal school contact hours. And where ‘live’-teaching is undertaken (for instance, for isolating pupils) in addition to teaching in the classroom (“double” or additional teaching) this discrete time must be included in the teachers’ time budget.
  • Be provided with appropriate training, and
  • Be expected to use only school accounts for live streaming.

Finally, we expect that NEU (and other teacher's unions) will be involved in meaningful consultation prior to the introduction of ‘live-stream’ teaching.