We want to do all we can to support school support workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s the must-read advice for all school support staff, UNISON’s Updated Schools Wales Covid-19 FAQs, 20 May

Message from Rosie Lewis, UNISON Cymru Wales lead officer for schools (15 May):

“UNISON has been meeting regularly with Welsh Government to contribute to the discussions on how schools and educational settings will begin to extend to open wider than only specifically for vulnerable children and those of critical workers.

“The Education Minister has today published a Framework for how those decisions will be made, see link.

“In contributing to that process, UNISON will continue to argue that any proposals must ensure the safety, health and well being of staff and that any plans have an appropriate lead in time with training provided as necessary.

“Next Wednesday, Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education will be continuing to take the views of parents, children and young people into account with a session #AskKirsty from 16:00 – 17:00 where people are being invited to give their views directly to Kirsty Williams, through Twitter and Facebook.”

 

Find out about online workshops on digital technology specifically aimed at school support staff on 22 May and 5 June

Read UNISON Cymru Wales’ schools newsletter, May 2020

Read Education Minister Kirsty Williams’ written statement: Recovery Phase Planning – operation of schools.Welsh Government has  today  made it very clear that the issue of possible re-opening of schools is not imminent. Kirsty Williams has been clear that nothing has changed in her approach to opening schools in that any decisions will be made based  on the scientific advice and when the Chief Medical Officer has said it is safe to do so. Further to this, decisions will not be made aside from the wider Welsh Government response to the pandemic. Additionally when any decision is made, communication to parents and staff will be made in a timely manner so that preparations can be put in place and practical arrangements made.

Find out more about Online learning for UNISON members. UNISON has expanded our online member learning offer vastly with a new partnership with the Staff Skills Academy. This means that UNISON members can access over 550 certified CPD courses for free. We have picked out some free online courses which may be of particular interest to schools workers.

Read the Welsh Government Guidance for hubs and schools: coronavirus, 17 April

Read the Welsh Government Guidance for schools on safeguarding children during the coronavirus pandemic, 6 April

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

Read the letter from Education Minister Kirsty Williams about support for the supply sector, 1 April 2020

Read Welsh Government’s latest statement on free school meals: revised coronavirus guidance to schools

Read Welsh Government’s Education Update Covid-19, 27 March 2020 including links to:

  • Exam arrangements for Years 10 and 11
  • Statement on summer 2020 approach to AS levels and Year 10 learners
  • Information about Further and Higher Education during coronavirus
  • Support schemes for childcare settings
  • Video message of thanks from Kirsty Williams
  • Information about school opening times and their services
  • Information on health and well-being for staff and learners
  • Further and higher education
  • Exams and assessments
  • Workplace learning and apprenticeships

Welsh Government has also published a Safeguarding poster

Read the Welsh Government’s press release ‘Education Minister asks ‘national heroes’ to keep schools open for NHS and carers during school holidays‘ (28 March)

Read Welsh Government’s Education Update Covid-19, 20 March 2020 including links to:

  • Welsh Education Secretary Kirsty Williams’ statement: Eligibility for ongoing provision for children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response
  • Free school meals – coronavirus guidance
  • WJEC: Issuing grades for qualifications

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

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 March, the Minister for Education issued the following statement saying that schools and childcare are still open for the children of critical workers, and thanking teaching and childcare professionals for their dedication in this hour of national need.

Statement by Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education:

“I’d like to thank parents for listening to the advice and keeping most children at home. I’d be grateful if tomorrow morning you only use schools or childcare as a last resort.

“The advice has not changed as a result of tonight’s decision to further restrict movement, which our First Minister, along with other UK leaders took with the sole aim of slowing the spread of coronavirus.

“Children should be at home wherever possible, critical workers will still need to have safe care arrangements for their children. Our schools and childcare settings are providing a vital service to support critical workers and our most vulnerable children.

“Those involved in the current arrangements looking after children should continue. Many thanks to our amazing teaching and childcare professionals for their commitment in this time of national need.

“This situation will continue for the immediate term but we will be reviewing with healthcare professionals, local authorities and our teaching unions.”