Schools Opening in September 2020
The Office of National Statistics’ report of coronavirus (COVID-19) casualties linked to occupations has found that staff with teaching jobs (or other related jobs in educational settings) are not at any greater risk of contracting the disease. Not only that, but there was no evidence to suggest that children are prominent transmitters of the disease, at least compared to adults.
The statistics and research, coupled with the Test & Trace scheme and the lengthy amount of time children had to be out of school during the national lockdown, has led to the government introducing a mandatory return to education from September 2020. The relatively low risk of coronavirus does not outweigh the benefits of children returning to school.
Schools now have the task of using the resources at their disposal to ensure all children can be welcomed back safely and securely, while ensuring protective measures for children and teaching staff, including social distancing.
As far as Always Flourishing are concerned, we put wellbeing at the heart of everything we do, as an education recruitment agency. We believe that all teachers, whether full-time or supply teachers, teaching assistants or school leaders, should be looked after given the enormous obstacles that face them come September 2020.
Supporting Teaching Staff
Schools have just as much of a duty to support their teaching staff as much as their students and pupils. Nothing has changed in that regard. However, given that teachers now have to educate children on the material they may have missed during lockdown (within a shorter period of time), as well as manage risks, ensure protection and social distancing, they are facing an uphill battle. We’ve previously written about how applicants can still apply for teaching vacancies for September 2020 start dates, and how important it is to prepare for what will be a challenging time. For anyone already holding a teaching position, whether as a cover supervisor, supply teaching assistant or a headteacher in a private school, Always Flourishing are here to support you.
No doubt anyone currently holding, or applying for teaching jobs, will have questions in the backs of their minds. Hopefully, the below advice helps.
What about staff who are clinically vulnerable?
Provided that schools have implemented controls and measures to minimise risk of transmission, clinically vulnerable staff can still return to their usual teaching jobs. Those who do return to working as a teacher should ensure they adhere to social distancing guidelines, minimise contact and keep their hands clean.
What about staff who are deemed ‘high-risk’ from COVID-19?
Some teachers with increased risk of coronavirus, or who live with other ‘high-risk’ individuals, can still return to working as a teacher. Provided schools implement the system of controls outlined by the government, the risk should be low.
How can schools look after staff mental health?
Schools should thoroughly explain all new measures that have been, or will be, put in place and how the landscape that is familiar to many may look and feel significantly different. Schools should actively ensure that all staff, including those with teaching leadership positions, are looked after, particularly those who are anxious about returning to school. The Department of Education is providing additional pupil and teacher mental health support. Also, the Education Support Partnership offers a free helpline for teaching positions, with targeted mental health support.
If you are currently in the middle of a teaching job application with Always Flourishing, or have recently registered and are feeling overwhelmed with the ongoing news about coronavirus in schools, speak to us directly and we’re happy to provide you with added support and guidance.
Are there any changes to how supply teaching jobs will be filled?
Schools should still ensure appropriate support is made available, by deploying support staff with supply teaching positions or cover supervisor roles, or even teaching assistant jobs. Extra care should be given to SEND-specific schools. Schools may need to alter the way in which staff are deployed, and use existing staff more flexibly. But where support capacity is available, schools should still enable staff from within and outside their school to work with pupils.
What is the procedure for teacher recruitment?
The government has recommended schools continue to hire teachers, remotely of course, over the remainder of the summer holidays. If you’re a recent NQT, or have some teaching experience and are looking to get into teaching, don’t let this pandemic stop you. You can register with Always Flourishing and we will work diligently to ensure you fill the perfect teaching vacancy.