Schools & Academies in England, Member Update – 21st July 2021
We hope this finds you well.
As the end of the summer term and Step 4 of the easing of lockdown restrictions approach, we wanted to give you a quick update on how this may affect you at school. It is our understanding that most schools will continue working as they have been for the rest of the term but there are changes from Monday 19th July which could come into effect. These changes include
- DfE will no longer recommend that it is necessary to keep children in consistent groups (‘bubbles’). This means that bubbles will not need to be used for any summer provision e.g summer schools or in schools from the autumn term. This will mean that assemblies can resume and alternative arrangements to avoid mixing at lunch no longer need to made.
- From 19 July, face coverings will no longer be advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. GMB believes that it is reasonable for members of staff to choose to continue wearing a face covering and should be allowed to do so. The advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is if staff choose to wear face coverings, employers should support this and GMB hopes Head Teachers will take this HSE advice on board.
- Occupied spaces still need to be well ventilated. Poorly ventilated spaces will still need to be identified as part of a schools risk assessment and steps need to be taken to improve fresh air flow in these areas.
At the moment, DfE is advising “As pupils will potentially mix with lots of other people during the summer holidays, all secondary school pupils should receive 2 on-site lateral flow device tests, 3 to 5 days apart, on their return in the autumn term. Settings may commence testing from 3 working days before the start of term and can stagger return of pupils across the first week to manage this. Pupils should then continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September, when this will be reviewed. Staff should undertake twice-weekly home tests whenever they are on site until the end of September, when this will also be reviewed.” GMB London will be staying in touch with you though, throughout the summer holidays to ensure you have the most up to date advice and will ensure you know what to expect when schools return in September. Given the escalating numbers of Covid-19 cases, it is unclear what measures may, or may not, be in place come the autumn term but we will share any updated advice and guidance with you. If you know anyone who is a member and not receiving our updates, they can contact us and provide their email address at London.Membership@gmb.org.uk.
GMB London will also be contacting you next week with details of an end of term survey, to find out how you are feeling and to see if you have any concerns for the new term.
In regard to the NJC Pay Claim for 2021/22 there has not yet been another offer from the Employer but you can read our latest NJC newsletter here.
As always, GMB is here to support you and if you have any concerns or questions please do not hesitate to contact either your local Branch or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any of your colleagues who are not in a Union can join GMB online at www.gmb.org.uk/join. Support staff are the backbone of our schools and it is important their voice is heard and the more members we have in a school, the stronger the voice. If you do not have a GMB Representative in your workplace and are interested in taking on this role, please contact us for further information.
Stay safe and we will be in touch again next week.
With kind regards,
Lisa Bangs, GMB London Region Organiser
Keith Williams, GMB London Region Senior Officer