Schools & Academies in England, Member Update – 26th March 2021

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Dear Member

We hope this finds you well.

Firstly, thank you to all those who took part in our recent online school support staff survey. It was most welcome to see from our survey results that nearly 65% of members are now feeling safe at work which is a big increase on the result from our survey in January when less than 40 % felt safe. For those who still have safety concerns, these primarily related to a lack of adherence to risk assessments, not being vaccinated or working across more than one bubble and advice on these and other issues can be found here.

As you will be aware, the Government has announced shielding will end on 31st March 2021. Any worker who has been shielding can return to work once the shielding period expires, unless their GP or other medical professional (such as a Consultant) advises otherwise.  Although Employers are not legally obligated to perform an individual risk assessment for shielding workers on their return to work, it is good practice to do so and GMB recommends this should happen. The risks from the work activity and workplace may have changed during the shielding period, and an individual’s health situation may also have altered. The 2nd vaccination dose is not a consideration for risk assessment purposes as the vaccination is not a control measure that the employer controls, and it should therefore not form any part of the risk assessment. 

On Tuesday 30th March at 5pm, GMB London Region is holding a Zoom meeting for schools members with Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Minister for Schools. Wes Streeting is the MP for Ilford North and since his appointment as Shadow Minister for Schools last year Wes has consistently raised concerns about PPE, vaccination priority for school staff, mass testing and free school meals. In addition to hearing about what Wes and the Labour party are doing to support members working in schools there will be an opportunity for members to ask questions and share their experiences. The meeting will be chaired by Barbara Plant, GMB National President. Please register for the event here

We are expecting new guidance to be issued shortly, as when schools fully reopened on 8th March the guidance only covered until 31st March, and when this is published we will be in touch with an update. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your Branch or if you have any questions or concerns.

If you have any colleagues who are not in a Union, they can join online on at The more GMB members there are in a workplace, the stronger our voice and it has never been so important for the voice of school support staff to be heard. Together we are stronger and together we can make the difference you want to see.

Please stay safe and take care.

With kind regards,

Lisa Bangs, GMB London Region Organiser — Schools and Academies

Keith Williams, GMB London Region Senior Organiser