It’s a time of anxiety for school staff as schools reopen this September, and we have new guides to ensure that members have all the information they need to challenge bad practice and promote best practice in the coming months.
As you know, the Government has chosen to remove most requirements for safety measures in schools, As your union, GMB has raised concerns about the increased risk of this leading to an increase in Covid-19 cases in schools. This is especially significant as new cases of Covid are running at over 30,000 a day on a consistent basis and we know that in Scotland cases have been surging since their schools returned on the 17th August.
The implementation of the vaccination programme has made progress, but rates of Covid-19 infection in the wider community are higher than this time last year and many pupils won’t have been vaccinated. Because of this, GMB has stated that effective safety measure will still need to be in place to try and minimise transmission.
We are advising that your school’s Risk Assessment will need to be reviewed and updated. Both you and your Reps should be consulted as part of this.
As a minimum, GMB’s position is that the risk assessment will need to address the following:
- Ventilation (should be a priority control measure)
- Hygiene (Hand & Respiratory hygiene and PPE where applicable)
- Testing (taking of & result reporting/recording of for all staff/pupils)
- Cleaning Personal/Equipment (regular e.g. twice daily of areas/equipment)
GMB has sent updated joint guidance to every School Head in England. You can access this guidance on at gmb.org.uk/all-schools-staff-noticeboard.
If you have any issues about Covid safety or any other concerns at your school, get in touch and we’ll be here to help.
It would be really helpful if you could make your colleagues aware of this advice and, if they aren’t in a union, tell them they need to! Your non-union colleagues can make sure they are protected at work by joining online at gmb.org.uk/join.
We’ll be arranging workplace visits to schools to make sure you get to have your say on the 2021 pay award. You can find details of the award and GMB’s response at gmb.org.uk/network/public-services-section/local-government-noticeboards/local-government-noticeboards/all-local-government-noticeboard
Details of the ballot will be sent early this week.
As part of the visits, we’ll also be talking about our Right Pay for the Right Job campaign. This is the GMB West Midlands campaign to make sure that school support staff are paid at the right level for the work you do.
To arrange the GMB visit to your school, contact Donna.Spencer@gmbactivist.org.uk with your name and school details.
Posted: 6th September 2021