Most schools have opted to break for the summer rather than continue with catch-up. A reminder for all TTO employees that you can be asked to work over the summer break but cannot be forced to. If you agree, you should be paid for these extra hours.
Schools will have been planning staffing for next year. Any member on a temporary contract for more than two years should contact us for support in getting their contract made permanent.
The local authority has advised schools to continue with their current risk management arrangements unchanged up to the end of the term. If your school is not following this advice, let us know. There is a snag as NHS test and trace will not be supporting schools with contact tracing. This is being queried with the DfE.
It’s too early to say what the position will be in September, but we intend to continue talking to LA about this over the Summer.
UNISON’s national Schools Committee agreed in late June that the government needs to:
• Re-introduce previous rules on face coverings and reduce bubble sizes to prevent further disruption
• Give schools the funding and logistical support to implement stronger preventative measures, including improved ventilation and smaller bubbles to stop further transmission of the virus in September
• Keep current measures on bubbles and self-isolation for close contacts in place for at the least the first half of the autumn term until there is clear evidence that there is not another transmission spike in schools.
• Increase testing capacity at school so that pupils can be tested on-site. Ongoing concerns about the accuracy of the rapid lateral flow tests, mean they should not be used as a ‘green light’ for close contacts or as an alternative to self-isolation.
UNISON is saying this because cases are rising rapidly, hospitals are near to capacity and admissions are rising, the risk of long COVID particularly for younger workers who aren’t fully vaccinated, and the risk to those who are still clinically vulnerable.
Keep in touch during the break as we expect further developments.