27th August 2020
It’s been a tumultuous year for everyone working in the education sector and a fresh start is definitely being welcomed by our teachers and partner schools!
The government has published further back-to-school guidance for pupils, parents, teachers and schools. We’ll look at some of the key points and how they might affect teachers heading back to the classroom in the next few days.
In August the government announced the launch of it’s official #BackToSchoolSafely campaign – designed to encourage the whole community to find safe ways to get the school – even if that’s different to your usual method of transport. Increased focus on encouraging cycling, walking or ‘park and stride’ options for teachers and pupils intends to reduce the number of people using Public Transport and the risk of Coronavirus transmission in school-goers. Read our full guide to going #BackToSchoolSafely here!
The UK government has announced that all schools should return in full for the start of the Autumn term and offer pupils a full curriculum. With rates of Coronavirus falling in most areas of the country, a return to schools is considered a priority, offering parents the chance to return to work as well as children the social, academic and pastoral benefits of returning to an educational setting.
Schools are expected to implement ‘sensible and proportionate’ measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on their premises. Your school should already have produced a risk assessment based around the earlier return of key worker children to education settings, but they have an obligation to update this to reflect the risks and mitigations associated with a return of the full school community.
There are a number of recommended measures for schools that form part of a plan for a complete return.
Schools are expected to build hand hygiene into their culture, with appropriate amounts and locations of handwashing stations – depending on the setting, this could be soap and water, hand sanitiser or for younger children, skin-safe wipes. We’ve seen some schools issue guidance asking pupils to bring their own hand sanitiser to use throughout the day as well as tissues to encourage ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’
Masks are mandatory on public transport for children over 12 and adults. Schools may have individual policies on masks so it’s worth checking before you start.
Bubbles & Distancing
Many secondary schools that we have spoken to have moved away from the small bubble model and implemented year-group bubbles instead. Older children will be encouraged to maintain social distance where possible. It makes sense for primary age children to form class-size bubbles, although this may vary from school to school.
We’ve been working with schools to provide additional maintenance and cleaning staff for one-off cleans and more regular sanitization of surfaces and communal areas. Encourage pupils to take responsibility for wiping down desks and shared resources between activities and make sure to check your schools cleaning policies.
Teachers and schools must act quickly in the event of a potential Coronavirus infection. If a pupil or teacher begins to display Coronavirus symptoms then strict protocols must be adhered to, including isolating the individual and ensuring full cleaning of areas they have been in contact with.
There may be additional processes unique to the environment you are working in. This is especially true of SEND and PRU facilities where they may be setting-specific guidance around contact and PPE. It’s essential to check the policies and risk assessments of the school you’ll be working in!
The Back To School guidance states the use of supply teachers should continue, with additional hygiene and distancing in place. Supply staff will be essential in the delivering of tuition and intervention strategies as schools work to close the attainment gap.
There’s a strong recommendation by the DfE for schools to utilise a CCS approved agency when sourcing supply cover. As a proud member of the CCS framework, we anticipate a high demand for our supply teachers over the coming months. We are already seeing schools booking additional supply staff to fulfil tuition and intervention commitments and as schools return and the work of getting pupils up-to-date on their academic progression begins, we’ll be working with our supply teachers and partner schools to ensure full compliance.
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