Audit of staff
The DfE is asking head teachers to undertake an audit of how many staff are available, both teaching and support staff.
Questions for reps to ask:
- Are you satisfied with the proposed rota arrangements?
- Have you been given an assurance that there will always be a head/deputy, first aider, Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), SENCO, caretaker and sufficient cleaning staff on duty at all times?
- Are you satisfied that consistency can be ensured to minimise staff movement between classes?
- Has it been confirmed that sufficient cleaning staff will be engaged to allow for the enhanced cleaning levels required?
- Have you been given an assurance that non cleaning staff will not be expected to undertake cleaning work?
- Has the site been measured to ascertain what the maximum capacity is and proportion of pupils that can be accommodated to allow safe distancing? (This needs to adopt a cautious approach in relation to staff availability, taking into account those who must work from home because they are vulnerable or may need to self-isolate and likely future levels of absence.)
- Is it clear to all staff and parents that only healthy staff and pupils who are not exhibiting symptoms, and who do not need to self-isolate, may attend school?
- Is it clear that pregnant staff and those with underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable, or who live with or care for vulnerable or shielding household members or those over age of 70 are permitted to continue to work from home? The DfE advises that if ‘vulnerable’ as opposed to ‘extremely vulnerable’ staff cannot work from home ‘they should be offered the safest available on-site roles’, also that a member of staff who lives with someone who is vulnerable can attend work. The joint unions disagree, both should be allowed to work from home.
- Have the risks to Black staff been assessed when planning rotas? Evidence from the Office for National Statistics shows a greater impact of Covid-19 on Black communities with a disproportionate number of deaths being recorded. The DfE Planning Guide does not address this issue.
- Will parents be advised that the school cannot guarantee to be able to keep their children socially distant, with support for parents to assess the risks to themselves and other family members of sending their child to school?
- What arrangements are in place for safe induction of new staff during this period?
- Have catering staff been involved in discussions about how meals will be served and are there sufficient catering and lunchtime supervision staff to ensure that children can safely eat their lunch?
- Is there a procedure to close the school or college at short notice if staffing levels fall to levels where safety cannot be assured?
Are you satisfied that safe staffing levels will be in place from when the school starts to open more widely? Yes / No
If there is no head teacher/deputy head teacher, DSL, SENCO, caretaker/adequate numbers of cleaning staff available
Questions for reps to ask:
- Will the school close if any of these key staff are unavailable?
If not, are you satisfied that a safe environment can be maintained from when the school starts to open more widely? Yes / No
NEU/GMB/Unison/Unite have produced a commentary and checklist guide for primary schools.