15th July 2020
The government has now released comprehensive guidance relating to the reopening of schools in September to all year groups. The full guidelines can be read on the government website here.
Many of the measures were expected and build on the success experienced by schools who continued to operate for key-worker children during the height of the pandemic. These schools have led the way in preparing for the full return, and we know that teachers and school staff have put a huge amount of time and energy into creating a safe, welcoming and stable environment for children to learn in.
The guidance published draws on these experiences and also offers recommendations for a wide variety of scenarios and settings, all aimed at reducing the potential for the virus to be transmitted within schools whilst continuing to provide a comprehensive education.
Some of the measures published include:
For many of our partner schools, the new guidelines simply represent an extension of the services they have been providing for the duration. One-way systems and regular hand-washing are already built into the fabric of the day for many pupils.
There is some new information for schools on hiring supply teachers. Supply teachers are vital for the running of schools, but they are evidently going to be instrumental in the implementation of a successful return. Supply teachers can help to fill any gaps in staffing and offer pupils as much stability and normality as possible during what could be an anxious time after such a long period away from the classroom.
To ensure protocols are being maintained as well as charges being fair to schools in what could be a time of high demand, the government is now recommending that schools utilise the Crown Commercial Services agency supply deal to hire supply staff. The CCS Supply Teacher Framework is the Department For Education and CCS’ commercial agreement for the provision of supply teachers to schools. This framework helps to provide greater transparency of costs, as well as introduce standardised terms and conditions across the sector and establish a consistent approach to safeguarding and compliance. There are 122 agencies on the framework, with no plans for more to be added – read more about the CCS framework and how it supports teachers and schools here. The recently released guidance for schools on full opening recommends that schools select a supplier on the framework when they look to hire temporary teachers or support staff. It makes sense that schools should consider block booking supply teachers to reduce the number of new individuals entering school premises to reduce transmission, as such, the government guidelines state:
“To minimise the numbers of temporary staff entering the school premises, and secure best value, schools may wish to use longer assignments with supply teachers and agree a minimum number of hours across the academic year.”
As well as offering advice for supply teachers, the guidelines offer a further way for schools to fill gaps in their teaching staff. The recently announced catch-up fund of £650million to be used by schools to close the attainment gap can be spent on hiring graduate teachers through a recognised teaching training program and implementing them in schools to provide additional learning opportunities for children who have fallen behind. Book a consultation with one of our experts to discuss our unique teacher training program here.
The official announcement that schools will be returning for every year group in September has come as a welcome relief for many teachers, some of whom have been covering several roles, providing both remote and in-classroom teaching for the duration of the pandemic, and those who have been unable to work because of COVID-19.
If you are looking to restart working as a supply teacher, we can help. Visit our registration page to start a conversation with one of our expert consultants, who will be happy to discuss your options for teaching with us.
Of course, it’s expected that all teachers would do all that they can to avoid catching Coronavirus themselves whilst outside school premises and must adhere to the policies of the school that they are working within
Graduates looking to start a career in teaching may also find some positives in the new guidelines – there’s support for utilising graduates to fulfil additional roles within schools. They state:
“ITT trainees have the potential to play a significant role in supporting schools.”
This update means schools can utilise ITT trainees to provide catch-up learning opportunities via video, in schools with small groups or supporting online learning as well as to co-plan or co-teach lessons for larger groups. Not only does this give graduates an exciting opportunity for professional development as they become part of the longer-term solution for closing the attainment gap, but it gives schools the opportunity to maximise their intervention funding through teacher training programs. Read more about how our teacher training course can fast-track you to a salaried teaching position where you could form part of the school’s intervention and tuition strategy here.
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