UNISON, NEU, GMB and Unite have sent joint letters centrally to all headteachers, MAT CEOs and Local Authorities in England.
The purpose of the letters is to show understanding for the predicament they have been put in by the government and to urge them to work with us to only increase pupil numbers when it is safe do so. The letters also reminds them of the health and safety legislation and why it is so important that we all work together to protect the safety of pupils, staff and parents. The letter to LAs focuses on their legal responsibility for all children in their area, extending beyond responsibilities for educational provisions but also for their health, safety and welfare.
As part of the planning for an increase in pupil numbers, each school needs to undertake and properly consult on a risk assessment (RA). Government knows this yet it has not even produced a template RA for schools. Schools have been asked to work with branches, which could include the potential for a physical or virtual site visit. We understand that the risk assessment process is placing a huge pressure on branches and schools and that this will be impossible to complete in all schools by 1 June. This intolerable situation reinforces UNISON’s position that schools should only open when safe and not simply to meet the arbitrary government target date of 1 June.
Read the letters below (will open a new window);