Today three education unions, NEU, ASCL and NAHT have issued joint advice
to their members relating to Coronavirus. This is an unprecedented step, which marks both the seriousness of the crisis and the collaboration that has been going on behind the scenes between unions and on the ground between colleagues in schools.
The advice is the product of several days of joint working, and covers areas like safe staffing, supporting pupils at home and referring safeguarding concerns.
The three unions involved are the National Education Union (NEU), The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).
They say: “Success will be borne out of mutual respect, understanding and support underpinned by a generosity of spirit. Crisis invariably brings out the best in school teams. This joint advice has been published in order to make sure that it does.”
The opening section of the document says:
“During this time of crisis school leaders, teachers and support staff are doing essential work – caring for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has said that he is proud of the work you are doing. Your unions are proud of you too and want to work together to enable you to manage your professional and personal lives and keep yourselves and students safe during this crisis.
“The Covid-19 crisis means that school leaders, teachers and support staff are working in new situations and new ways in order to meet the challenges they face every day. These are very stressful and anxious times. Colleagues want to do the right thing – so that the NHS is not overwhelmed and other essential services keep functioning.
“Good professional relationships between colleagues will enable us all to meet the challenges we face. Discussion is essential so that the decisions made are well informed, well explained and capable of being implemented. Resilience will be fostered by all colleagues feeling that they have been able to be involved in as many decisions that affect their professional lives as possible.”