The DfE advises that the next step is to work out how to accommodate the eligible pupils, should they all come to school, calculating for a maximum group size of 15 in mainstream and assuming that all children will come every day for the whole day and that teaching assistants will be allocated to lead a group if there is a shortage of teachers. The joint unions oppose these assumptions.
Questions for reps to ask:
- How many pupils can each individual classroom safely accommodate to ensure that they and staff remain 2-metres apart on entry and departure and during the lesson? This needs to take account of the additional staff numbers in classes with SEND pupils who have individual adult support. How many people altogether will be in a classroom should be the measure.
- What areas are safe to use for different purposes than usual to aid social distancing?
- Is the school proposing to have 15 children per class? The joint unions position is that staff cannot be expected to safely supervise 15 children and ensure that they socially distance.
- Has account been taken of the fact that some staff, in particular support staff, normally work at close proximity to individual pupils and how this work can continue in a safe manner?
- In special schools, given the level of adult support required for pupils, what is a safe number of people to have in a classroom and how is this determined?
- In special schools, where social distancing will be impossible, what measures are in place to protect staff and pupils?
- To what extent can parents of SEND children be reassured that their child will still be working with, or have access to, their key worker/learning support assistant?
- Is the school prepared to consider attendance on a rotational basis in order to reduce class sizes?
- Can an assurance be given that teaching assistants, unless it is part of their normal role such as for higher level teaching assistant, will not be expected to lead classes?
- Will supply teachers be brought in as necessary?
- Will senior leaders be available to cover classes if needed?
- Will parents be told not to bring their children to school if there is a shortage of staff for a particular class?
Are you satisfied that the arrangements to operate from when the school opens more widely are safe and fair and will be acceptable to both teachers, teaching assistants and learning support assistants? Yes / No
NEU/GMB/Unison/Unite have produced a commentary and checklist guide for primary schools.