UNISON continues to work hard to support school support workers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.

Wales specific updates will be placed on this page and we will also continue to provide up-to-date information on our Facebook page.

Welsh Government Plans for September

UNISON has always been clear that we want to see a full return to schools as soon as possible, but the safety of staff, pupils, parents and our communities must come first.

At the beginning of July, Welsh government announced that all schools would be fully opening from September. Welsh government has issued guidance for schools to plan for the full return of pupils in the autumn term.

Note: The guidance on face coverings has been amended to clarify that if anyone wishes to wear a face covering for personal reasons they should be permitted to do so. This may help support wider wellbeing, reduce anxiety and provide additional reassurance for some individuals alongside other mitigating measures.

UNISON continues to engage in the ongoing discussions around the return to schools. The role of school education in young people’s lives is of critical importance for many diverse reasons. School support staff want to see a return of learners into schools – but this must not be at any cost.

UNISON has a duty to represent and protect the interests of our members. Health and safety at work has never been more important. The guidance leaves some questions unanswered and more assurances are needed on staff deployment, testing, classroom measures, catering and cleaning.

 

Making schools safer for September

UNISON, along with some of the other unions in schools, has produced a comprehensive checklist covering all school settings, including special schools. It will help school staff and reps have discussions with school leaders about their plans for safe reopening, and assist them in completing a thorough school risk assessment.

UNISON has issued guidance for staff who are medically vulnerable or otherwise at higher risk from Covid-19, or who live with or care for people who are. It is intended to ensure that medical conditions, pregnancy, other personal characteristics, and the impact of economic disadvantage  are all taken into account in determining whether it is safe for employees to attend the workplace and what safety measures are required for them. 

Webinar

We will be hosting a webinar in August focused on health and safety in schools. Full details will be circulated as soon as they are available.

Over 100 school support staff registered for our first ever regional support staff webinar. We covered a number of important issues including Welsh government negotiations, UNISON’s school support staff survey, the checklist to ensure a safe return to school, as well as many questions from participants. Understandably, many were unable to make the event, but you can catch up online by clicking the webinar link below.

View webinar >

Next steps

We know this is a worrying time, but UNISON is there for you. We have a host of information on our dedicated school support staff webpage as well as the opportunity to read regular updates and network with other school support staff via our Facebook page.

And we cannot emphasise enough, if you have any concerns about your health, safety or wellbeing at work, please contact your for further advice and support.

Courses

Whilst you are visiting our page, we thought you might be interested to learn about some new courses from UNISON for members working in schools.

Links

UNISON – Schools Coronavirus Workplace Checklist

 Read the updated Welsh Government advice: Health and well-being for school staff and learners: coronavirus

Don’t forget you can stay up-to-date with our UNISON Cymru Wales school support staff Face Book page

Here is the general UNISON national advice page on Covid-19

 

Coronavirus: what you need to know