The fairness of the Government's approach
Safety issues and contingency planning
Advice for teachers in vulnerable groups
Procedures for self-isolation and during sickness (updated 6th April)
Issues related to working from home
Pupils/staff with COVID-19
Supply teachers
Working arrangements during partial school closure (updated 8th April)
Job Retention Scheme/furlough (updated 6th April)
Childcare and carer responsibilities during partial school closure
Issues for trainee teachers/NQTs
Pupil support/discipline arrangements during partial school closure
Pay and contractual issues during partial school closure

The fairness of the Government's approach

Can I be directed to work from home?

Schools/colleges should consult with staff over the arrangements for dealing with disruption to service. Working from home can enable schools/colleges to protect staff from exposure to coronavirus.

Can I be directed to use my own IT and home broadband connections when working from home?

There are many issues surrounding the use of personal IT equipment and internet services, not least data privacy and confidentiality both for the member(s) of staff and for pupils.

Wherever possible, schools/colleges should supply teachers with appropriate IT equipment (including wi-fi connections) to enable remote working.

Safety issues and contingency planning

What is the Union doing to demand schools supply sanitisers, masks etc.?

In accordance with the Government’s advice, all schools and colleges should ensure that they provide access to soap and hot water for washing. Hand sanitisers may also be used in many schools, although regular and effective handwashing is the best way to protect against coronavirus.

The medical advice indicates that face masks may not be an effective protection for individuals against the spread of coronavirus.

Where staff are asked to physically support, assist or restrain pupils, schools should consider the provision to staff of protective clothing, gloves and other protective equipment.

Public health bodies recommend that the best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (closer than 2 metres) with any potentially infected person.

Is there anything specific I should expect to see in the school’s contingency plan relating to COVID-19?

Your school/college should have a contingency plan to deal with disruption due to coronavirus which should make clear:

  • who is responsible for contingency planning;
  • how staff will be kept updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace;
  • arrangements for emergency contact with staff;
  • precautions for staff who might be more vulnerable (e.g. someone who is pregnant, or aged over 70, or who has an underlying health condition);
  • reducing unnecessary travel;
  • self-isolation expectations;
  • a plan in case the workplace needs to close temporarily;
  • arrangements for working from home and what tasks staff may reasonably be expected to do;
  • time off work provisions to enable individual members of staff to look after someone else;
  • what to do if someone becomes unwell in the workplace with coronavirus symptoms;
  • what to do if someone with confirmed coronavirus comes into the workplace.

If support staff, e.g. caretakers and cleaners, are not in the school, should the school remain open?

Schools/colleges must ensure that they continue to meet high standards of hygiene and cleanliness during the period of coronavirus to minimise the risks to the health of employees, pupils and the public.

The Government's advice on cleaning and disinfecting of areas must be followed at all times.

Where a school/college is unable to meet hygiene and cleanliness standards, the NASUWT would expect the school/college to close.

Should those staff who remain on school premises practise social distancing between themselves and pupils?

The NASUWT has already raised with the Government our deep concerns that teachers are being expected to remain in schools in contact with children who can carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms, without being provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Emergency workers in contact with the public all have PPE. Why should staff in schools be different?

Advice for teachers in vulnerable groups

In light of the Government’s advice for pregnant workers, older workers and people with underlying health conditions to avoid non-essential contact, what actions should teachers with these conditions now take?

The UK Government has issued advice stating that for those who are over 70, those who have an underlying health condition or those who are pregnant, they should:

  • avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or a new and continuous cough;
  • avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible;
  • work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this;
  • avoid large gatherings,and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs;
  • avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media;
  • use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

This is general advice which is also relevant to teachers. However, at this time, it is only advice. Nevertheless, schools and colleges are expected to take account of the Government’s advice and should make such adjustments that are necessary and reasonable to help protect vulnerable teachers from exposure to the coronavirus.

In circumstances where a teacher has to self-isolate as a result of following the Government’s advice or the onset of potential COVID-19 symptoms, the teacher should receive full pay for the duration of their self-isolation.

A decision to self-isolate should be made following the information available on the NHS 111 website.

What is the advice for teachers working in schools who are over 60 years? I am teaching in a large primary, am 62 years old and concerned about being in a more at-risk group?

The Government’s advice on social distancing for older and vulnerable adults is available online. There is no specific advice for adults aged below 70.

What is the advice for teachers with underlying health conditions or who are aged over 70 or pregnant?

The UK Government’s advice is that employees from defined vulnerable groups should be strongly advised and supported to stay at home and work from home, if possible. The list of vulnerable groups published by the Government includes those:

The NASUWT, therefore, expects that all employers should follow the Government’s advice and remit vulnerable workers, including teachers, to work from home if possible for a period of 12 weeks, in accordance with the advice issued by the Government.

Where a school/college has not made or is refusing to make the appropriate arrangements to support vulnerable teachers, members should contact the NASUWT immediately for advice and assistance.

My employer is saying that as a teacher with an underlying health condition, I must return to work after two weeks. Is that correct?

The UK Government’s advice is that employees with an underlying health condition, together with employees aged 70 or above or those who are pregnant, are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus and should be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures, initially for a period of around 12 weeks.

Social distancing measures are steps that can help to reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus to vulnerable individuals through social interaction. These steps include:

  • avoiding contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus - i.e. a high temperature and/or new and continuous cough;
  • avoiding non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible;
  • working from home, where possible;
  • avoiding large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs;
  • avoiding gatherings with friends and family;
  • using telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

I am 32 weeks' pregnant and feel well, but my school/college has said that I will need to commence my maternity leave immediately due to the coronavirus. Is that correct?

There is no requirement for a teacher to take maternity leave early due to coronavirus.

The teacher’s rights in law are unaffected and a teacher should not be forced by an employer to take maternity leave from a particular date.

The UK Government’s guidance on coronavirus makes clear that those who are pregnant are a vulnerable group and employers are strongly encouraged to ensure that they stay at home and work remotely where possible.

A teacher who is pregnant should be expected to stay at home and may be asked to work from home, without this impacting on maternity leave entitlement, pay or other maternity rights.

Procedures for self-isolation and during sickness

I have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and cannot attend work. Does this count as sick leave and against my sick pay?

The NASUWT believes that in this situation employers should be flexible where members cannot attend work because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Where an employee's absence triggers action under the employer's absence management policy, COVID-19-related absence should be disregarded for the purposes of the employer’s absence threshold at which formal action is triggered under the policy.

Furthermore, employees should not be requested to provide evidence of sickness absence such as a fit note from their GP in these circumstances.

Where an employer is not prepared to be flexible, contact should be made with the NASUWT for further advice and support.

I am self-isolating because I am showing suspected coronavirus symptoms. My employer says this must be taken as sickness absence in accordance with the school’s policy. Is this correct?

No. The school’s policy does not apply to this situation.

You should be considered to be unavoidably absent or on medical leave, which will not count against the days for sick leave and sickness absence pay.

Employees should not be requested to provide evidence of sickness absence such as a fit note from their GP in these circumstances.

Where an employer does not accept this position, contact should be made with the NASUWT for further advice and support.

What procedure do I need to follow if I need to self-isolate?

The most common symptoms of coronavirus are recent onset of:

  • a new continuous cough; and/or
  • high temperature.

If you display these symptoms (even if mild symptoms), the Government’s advice is to stay at home for seven days from the day your symptoms started.

As from 16th March 2020, the Government advises that if you live in a household with others and they have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

The Government’s advice on self-isolating is intended to reduce the overall amount of infection that is passed on to others in the wider community.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, the Government’s advice is that individuals do not visit their GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Currently, it is unlikely that individuals will be tested for coronavirus if they are staying at home.

If your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days, you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or in a medical emergency dial 999.

There is extensive advice about self-isoaltion on the Gov.uk web page Staying at home.

My employer wants me to come to work even though I feel ill. What should I do?

Employees who display the symptoms associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus) should self-isolate for at least seven days from the day the symptoms first appeared.

Where an employee lives in a household where someone else displays symptoms, then they should self-isolate for at least 14 days.

Self-isolation is necessary to protect the health of individuals and the wider population.

There is extensive advice about self-isoaltion on the Gov.uk web page Staying at home.

Issues related to working from home

Can I be directed to work from home?

Schools/colleges should consult with staff over the arrangements for dealing with disruption to service. Working from home can enable schools/colleges to protect staff from exposure to coronavirus.

Can I be directed to use my own IT and home broadband connections when working from home?

There are many issues surrounding the use of personal IT equipment and internet services, not least data privacy and confidentiality both for the member(s) of staff and for pupils.

Wherever possible, schools/colleges should supply teachers with appropriate IT equipment (including wi-fi connections) to enable remote working.

Pupils/staff with COVID-19

A pupil’s parent in my class apparently has coronavirus. The headteacher is refusing to confirm this to me. What information should I have been told by my headteacher? Should the school be deep cleaned?

The Government’s advice is very clear that if any member of a household has coronavirus or symptoms linked to coronavirus, all members of the household must self-isolate for 14 days.

Schools have a duty to safeguard the health and safety of staff and pupils.

For contacts of a suspected case in the workplace, no restrictions or special control measures are required while laboratory test results for COVID-19 are awaited. In particular, there is no need to close the workplace or send other staff home at this point. Most possible cases turn out to be negative. Therefore, until the outcome of test results is known, there is no action that the workplace needs to take.

Where there is a confirmed case of coronavirus, the school/college will be contacted by the local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them, and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.

A risk assessment of each setting will be undertaken by the Health Protection Team. Advice on cleaning of communal areas, such as offices or toilets, will be given by the local Health Protection Team.

Supply teachers

Where a supply teacher working for an agency is required to self-isolate, how will this affect their pay?

The Government has introduced emergency legislation and measures in the 2020 Budget to provide for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to be made available from day one to anyone advised to self-isolate, even if they do not have the symptoms. This includes supply teachers as agency workers.

The Government has also made it easier for those who do not qualify for SSP to claim benefits, such as Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

The Government has removed the four-day qualifying period so this can be claimed from the first day of absence due to self-isolation. Further information is available on the gov.uk website.

Supply teachers may also be able to claim Universal Credit or contributory Employment and Support Allowance. Further details can be found on the gov.uk website or from your local Jobcentre Plus.

The NASUWT has written to recruitment agencies requesting details of the contingencies they have in place and to ensure that supply teachers are afforded these protections.

What benefits might I be entitled to as a supply teacher?

Statutory Sick Pay

Supply teachers working through a supply agency or an umbrella company may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provided they meet the eligibility criteria. Social security legislation uses a broader definition of ‘employee’ which means that supply teachers may be eligible for SSP if they have three months continuous service and earn a minimum of £118 per week or, if the level of pay varies, it will depend on the average pay over the previous eight weeks.

For the purposes of supply teachers as agency workers, continuous employment is not broken by periods of sickness, annual leave or if the agency is unable to offer work.

If a supply teacher has more than one contract with an agency and their earnings are aggregated for the purposes of National Insurance Contributions (NICs), they must be incapable of work under all their contracts before they are entitled to SSP.

The Government has removed the four-day qualifying period so this can be claimed from the first day of absence due to self-isolation. Further information is available on the Gov.uk website (see links below).

Supply teachers may also be able to claim Universal Credit or contributory Employment and Support Allowance, and further details can be found on the Gov.uk website (see links below) or from your local Jobcentre Plus.

If you are working on a daily supply basis in a school that closes due to the virus, unless you are told to self-isolate, you may obtain work in another school.

The NASUWT has written to recruitment agencies requesting details of the contingencies they have in place and the advice and guidance they are providing.

Other state benefits

As a supply teacher, depending on your circumstances and the eligibility criteria, you and your partner may be able to access one or more of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly and is available for those who on a low income or who are out of work provided they meet the eligibility criteria, which may include supply teachers as agency workers.

The Government has stated that those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a Jobcentre.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA is an individual benefit for those with a disability or health condition which impacts on their ability to work.

ESA provides money towards living costs if you are unable to work, as well as supporting individuals back into work.

JobSeeker’s Allowance (JSA)

JSA is available online for those who are currently unemployed who are actively looking for work or work fewer than 16 hours per week.

Further information, including eligibility criteria, can be found at the Gov.uk website:

What help can the NASUWT offer if my contract has been terminated?

The NASUWT recognises that some members may be facing additional financial difficulties during the coronavirus emergency and following the Government’s closure of schools. Where members have been disengaged from their contracts or are no longer being offered work, please contact the NASUWT to find out how we can help.

Please contact us by email at recruitment@mail.nasuwt.org.uk with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Membership number (or date of birth and postcode if you cannot locate it)
  • Copy of letter/email from a school or supply agency confirming they will not be offering work or copy of letter/email from employer ending your contract

Job Retention Scheme/furlough

I have received a letter from my employer asking me to defer 20% of my salary for the next three months as a result of the current national crisis. What should I do?

As a matter of urgency, you should send a copy of your current contract and the letter you have received from your employer to the NASUWT advice line on:

The NASUWT will then assign you to a caseworker to give you further advice.

What your employer is proposing is a variation of your contract and they cannot do this without your consent. You are strongly advised not to agree to this variation and to take advice from the NASUWT on the next steps you need to take.

Some employers are seeking to secure the 80% payment for employees' salary from the Government Job Retention Scheme but then are not prepared to pay their employees the other 20%. It is not acceptable that teachers should be expected to take a cut in salary.

Members should be advised that deferral of pay will adversely affect your pension.

I have been furloughed by my employer but I am still being asked to work from home to prepare work for the pupils not in school and to plan for next term. Is this correct?

No. This is completely unacceptable and indeed contrary to the provisions the Government has made regarding furlough and the grants that employers can receive to cover 80% of the teachers’ salary.

The basis for furlough and the receipt of Government funding is that the employee is not working.

Can maintained/local authority schools, MATs and free schools apply for the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme?

The UK Government has no expectation that publicly funded organisations which are continuing to receive their public funding will need to apply for the Scheme.

Maintained/local authority schools, MATs and free schools are all continuing to receive their public funding and therefore have no reason to apply.

Since these employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the UK Government expects employers to use that money to continue to pay staff as usual.

Can an independent school apply for the Job Retention Scheme?

Generally, yes, but it does depend on how the school or provision at the school is normally funded.

Some independent schools may be in receipt of public funding for some/all of their provision, including specifically to provide services necessary to respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency.

Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the Government expects that independent schools use that money to continue to pay staff in the normal way and, in this case, should not furlough staff.

My school is an independent school and has told me that I will be furloughed and the school will apply for funding from the Job Retention Scheme. Can the school do this?

Before taking this step, the school needs to explain to staff and to NASUWT Representatives why they believe that they will not continue to receive funding to enable them to retain their staff on their current contracts.

For example, can the school show that their cash flow has been interrupted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis? Are they able to demonstrate that parents are refusing to pay fees or are seeking reimbursement on fees?

If there is no change to their funding situation, they should not be seeking to furlough staff or cover costs from the Job Retention Scheme.

I have been furloughed by my employer. What payment can I expect?

If you have been furloughed, your employer should be applying for funding from the Job Retention Scheme.

The UK Government will then pay the employer 80% of the employee’s salary up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Your employer should then pay the difference so that you continue to receive 100% of your salary.

Please note that payment by the UK Government is retrospective. Your employer will need to continue to pay you whilst awaiting receipt of payment from the Job Retention Scheme.

My employer is furloughing staff and will be receiving the 80% funding from the Job Retention Scheme, but has said that we will only receive 90% of our salary and has asked us to sign a contract accepting this. What should I do?

You have a statutory entitlement to receive your full salary.

If you have been furloughed, your employer will receive 80% of your salary (up to a cap of £2,500) from the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. Your employer should make up the difference to 100%, together with payment of National Insurance Contributions and employer pension contributions.

The Scheme is intended to avoid redundancies by alleviating the pressure on employers to continue paying wages in full during the crisis period. If the employer is saying that they will only pay 10% to you on top of what they will receive from the Government, they are in effect seeking to vary your contract. It is, therefore, essential that you make clear in writing to your employer that you do not accept this variation to your contract.

If your employer seeks to compel you to accept less than your full salary entitlement, then you must write to the employer stating that you are receiving the reduced salary under protest and that you reserve the right, at the appropriate time, to pursue all legal remedies available to you to recover the deducted salary.

If I am furloughed, what work can my employer expect from me?

A requirement of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme is that where an employee has been furloughed, they cannot be available for work and therefore you cannot be working, so an employer cannot ask a furloughed worker to carry on working.

Being furloughed is not the same as teachers being asked to work from home because schools have been repurposed to provide care.

I work in a multi-academy trust and my employer has said that they intend to furlough staff and claim money from the Government Job Retention Scheme. Can they do this?

The Government guidance on the Job Retention Scheme makes clear that they have no expectation that publicly funded organisations who are continuing to receive their public funding will access the Scheme.

Your MAT will be continuing to receive funding from the Government in the normal way. You should therefore not accept being furloughed.

My school has decided to push forward a TUPE transfer for groups of staff to a private company to then furlough staff. Can they do this?

This is an abuse of the TUPE transfer provisions. It is clear the employer is being opportunistic to try to cover staff salaries by manipulating the system and also misapplying the TUPE provisions.

TUPE requires full consultation with staff unless there are no measures proposed. It is clear in this scenario that there are measures and the employer is therefore not abiding by statutory provisions and can therefore be challenged.

Working arrangements during partial school closure

Do I have to set mock examinations or homework tasks for the purposes of determining a centre assessment grade?

The DfE has stated quite clearly  that there is no requirement to set additional mock exams or homework tasks for the purposes of determining a centre assessment grade.

Schools and colleges also do not need to ask students to complete any unfinished non-exam assessment work for the purposes of grading.

I have a fixed-term contract with a school and I have just been advised that due to COVID-19 and partial closures of schools my contract is being terminated early and my pay has been stopped. What action can I take?

You should immediately email the NASUWT setting out the details of what has happened and attaching a copy of your contract. The NASUWT will then review the contract to determine what redress you may have in these circumstances.

At a time when staff are needed all across the country to support the arrangements being made in schools to provide care for the children of key workers and vulnerable children, terminating a fixed-term contract is unnecessary.

I have successfully applied for a post in another school and was due to begin my new post after Easter. The school has now withdrawn the offer and as I have resigned from my current school I am now without a job. What can I do?

Email the NASUWT giving a brief history of what has happened and attach copies of your letter of resignation, the written acceptance of your resignation, the offer of employment at the new school and the letter withdrawing the offer. The NASUWT will then offer advice and support on the action to be taken.

You could also ask your current school if you are able to withdraw your resignation and if they have not already made an appointment to replace you, they may be amenable to doing this and allow you to remain in post. They are, however, under no obligation to do this.

Can teachers be required to go into school to care for vulnerable children and key workers children over the weekends and during the Easter holiday?

In these unprecedented times when formal education has ended and been replaced by care provision and while there is intense pressure on the NHS, it is the fact that the Government will be seeking to ensure that there is provision for these children over weekends and during the Easter holidays.

The NASUWT believes that where there are proposals to keep schools open over weekends and holidays there must be full consultation with all staff, not just teachers, and volunteers sought.

A rota of volunteers should be drawn up and schools should have systems in place so that they can pay volunteers.

There are only a few pupils in my school and yet all of the staff are being required to attend the school every day. Is this right?

Such arrangements fly in the face of government guidance on lockdown, social distancing and essential journeys.

In these circumstances, a rota should be drawn up keeping staffing to the minimum number needed to support and care for the pupils.

No pupils have turned up to my school but the headteacher is making all staff report every day and stay until 10am. Is this acceptable?

This is contrary to government guidance on lockdown, social distancing or non-essential journeys.

It is risking the health and welfare of staff and their families for no reason and should stop.

My school is opting for the provision of vouchers for free school meals and has asked teachers to deliver these meals to the homes of pupils? Do I have to do this?

It is important that children who are entitled to free school meals receive them. Schools have a number of options to ensure this happens. If they have the facilities, they can provide school meals as they would in normal circumstances and children who are eligible can attend the school site for their meal. All the provisions in the guidance regarding hygiene and social distancing should be in place.

Some schools are opting into a voucher system. In this case, pupils can be provided with the voucher to purchase the food themselves. Alternatively, the schools can use the voucher to purchase meals and the pupils can collect the food from the school.

It has been suggested by some schools that teachers should deliver the meals purchased to pupils’ homes. The NASUWT does not believe that this is a reasonable request to make of teachers. It raises issues about the safety of the teachers, the type of car insurance they have, the potential for the quality of the meal to be compromised depending on what type of food is being provided and the risk of contamination of food. Members are strongly advised not to agree to participate in such delivery arrangements.

I have been asked by my school to complete a record/diary of what I am doing on a daily basis when I am not in work. Is this reasonable?

No this is not a reasonable expectation.

It is reasonable for the employer to set out their expectations of what staff should be doing when they are working from home. These expectations should be reasonable and practical.

If you are asked to keep a record of work you are doing , decline to do so and ask the employer to set out the expectations of what they want you to do.

If these expectations seem unreasonable, then contact the NASUWT for further advice.

I have just received a message from my headteacher that it may be necessary to cancel PPA/PPC time and to cover for absent colleagues in order to keep classes running. Is this correct?

Schools should have in place appropriate arrangements for covering for absence.

Whilst the impact of coronavirus on individuals may be more severe, it has always been the case that schools have had to deal with absence cover, including when dealing with the impact of seasonal flu.

This can include accessing supply teachers or sending classes home. There can be no reasonable expectation for teachers to undertake extended cover for absence or to forfeit PPA or PPC time due to absence of other colleagues.

Can teachers be required to make their time up during closure periods?

It would be wholly inappropriate and unacceptable to expect teachers to make up time resulting from the closure of a school/college.

A requirement for a school/college to close is a necessary public health protection measure and teachers should not be required to make up time or suffer any detriment resulting from forced closure of schools/colleges.

Can teachers be required to work in other schools during this period?

In England, the DfE's guidance on residential settings states that in respect of special provision, staff from elsewhere may be brought in to prevent closure or to allow a closed setting to reopen.

The guidance indicates that local authorities now have responsibility for securing these additional staff and that redeployments may be made involving those employed in academies as well as in local authority maintained schools.

The NASUWT is seeking clarification from the DfE on this provision and staff redeployments in general and will provide further updates as an when they are available.

With fewer pupils eligible to be in school, will it be necessary for all teachers to be in the workplace at all times or can schools establish rota arrangements?

Schools will need to prepare contingency plans, in consultation with their staff.

Whilst recognising that not all pupils will be in school at any one time, schools will need to think about the best way to organise their staffing to minimise unnecessary risks and to maintain appropriate standards in terms of health and safety.

Some schools are considering rota arrangements. It is important that the deployment of staff, however, remains appropriate and safe at all times and that teachers are not deployed to undertake tasks for which they have not been appropriately trained or for which they are not insured or indemnified by the employer, e.g. cleaning, catering, medical administration or transportation.

Should staff who rely on public transport be expected to be in work?

There is currently no restriction on the use of public transport, but the NASUWT expects the Government and public transport authorities to be making further statements on this shortly.

What guidance is there for staff working in residential settings, including residential special schools and alternative provision and children’s homes?

In England, the DfE has published guidance on residential settings, including residential special schools and alternative provision and children’s homes.

The maintenance of staff and learner safety is of critical importance in residential settings given the particular issues these settings encounter in these respects. All residential settings should have systems and structures in place that comply with the existing existing minimum standards set by the DfE.

The NASUWT is clear that these standards establish important operational benchmarks for all residential settings and all settings should already be familiar with their requirements, including in respect of the availability and deployment of staff. Members should seek advice and information from the NASUWT urgently if they believe these standards are not being met.

Children’s homes are subject to further guidance set out in the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015. Leaders and staff in children’s homes should already be familiar with the standards set by these Regulations and the DfE's accompanying guidance (pdf).

In particular, settings are required to have enough suitably trained staff (including someone in a management role) on duty to meet the assessed needs of all children in the home and to ensure that those staff are able to respond to emergency placements, where accepted.

These standards remain critical to securing minimum standards of safety in children’s homes. Members working in children’s homes who are concerned that the standards are not being met, or are at imminent risk of not being met, should seek further advice and guidance from the NASUWT.

For residential special schools and children’s homes, the guidance indicates that where staffing levels are not adequate, a judgement should be made about whether the setting should close. If members are concerned that a setting is remaining open when it is not safe for it to do so, advice and guidance should be sought from the NASUWT.

The guidance makes clear that local authorities should make attempts to relocate staff from other schools and colleges to maintain safe levels. In cases where such steps are being considered, it will be important to ensure that these staff have adequate skills and knowledge to fulfil the role allocated to them safely.

Key terms and conditions for members working in settings that fall within the remit of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Teachers in Residential Establishments (JNCTRE) are set out in the Orange Book. NASUWT guidance on this document is available the Summary of the JNC Orange Book on the Conditions of Service page.

The NASUWT is continuing to seek urgent further clarification from the DfE on the management of contamination risks in special settings and will update members when such advice is made available.

Childcare and carer responsibilities during partial school closure

If I'm required to be at home to look after my children, can I also be required to work from home? The expectation to work from home alongside looking after my children would result in reduced quality of work or no work and a stressful situation.

The NASUWT expects schools/colleges to consider the circumstances of individual teachers on a case-by-case basis.

Teachers with caring responsibilities may not have access to alternative childcare due to forced closure of other facilities.

A member of my household is a vulnerable person according to the Government’s advice. Is my employer required to allow me to work from home?

The Government’s advice on social distancing is intended to protect vulnerable persons.

The guidance does not refer to individuals who live in households with vulnerable persons. Individuals who live with a vulnerable person may reasonably be expected to attend work as directed by their employer.

What should teachers who are carers for relatives who are in vulnerable groups do about attending work?

Currently, in accordance with Government advice, individuals who live in a household with a vulnerable person may reasonably be expected to attend work as directed by their employer.

If neither the carer nor the individual receiving care is symptomatic, the Government advice is that no additional measures are required above and beyond normal good hygiene practices.

What should teachers who are parents do if they have to go into work and do not have anyone to look after their own children?

Members should discuss the situation with their employer. The NASUWT encourages employers to provide additional flexibility to support individuals who have childcare difficulties.

The Government has included teachers in the definition of key workers and therefore they have access to the support other key workers are being provided with.

Issues for trainee teachers/NQTs

What will school closures mean for trainee teachers in terms of them passing their induction year or completing their training?

The NASUWT is pressing the Government for further advice on the implications for trainee teachers and for those teachers completing their induction/probation.

The Welsh Government has introduced arrangements that would allow institutions training teachers from now on to determine that trainees have completed their programmes successfully and to be accredited accordingly. Comparable relaxations to requirements have been announced in England and Scotland. The NASUWT is seeking the adoption of this approach elsewhere across the UK.

The NASUWT is aware that some local authorities in England have decided to use the flexibility permitted by the induction regulations and statutory guidance to allow NQTs to be deemed to have passed their induction at the end of the spring term. The Union is calling for a similar approach to be adopted in all local authorities and will continue to engage with the DfE on this issue.

Requirements for the completion of induction in Wales (pdf) and probation in Scotland have been relaxed to take account of the implications of the current arrangements under which schools are operating.

The NASUWT is continuing to press relevant authorities elsewhere in the UK to implement similar measures.

Pupil support/discipline arrangements during partial school closure

Who will be responsible for checking the eligibility of pupils to be in school and can schools turn pupils away?

The NASUWT has requested urgent clarification from the Government about how these pupils will be identified and what evidence it is reasonable to expect parents to provide.

Will schools still have the power to exclude violent pupils?

The NASUWT expects the health, safety and welfare of our members to be protected whatever the circumstances. Regardless of the current situation, no teacher should expect to be verbally and physically abused.

The Union is seeking urgent clarification from the Government that teachers will be protected and headteachers can continue to exclude.

Pay and contractual issues during partial school closure

What do school closures mean for teachers in terms of pay?

Whilst it has been widely reported that all schools will be closed, the Government has been clear that schools will remain open for certain vulnerable pupils and to provide for children of key workers. The Government continues to expect teachers to report to work during this period to continue to support these pupils and also to plan and prepare work for pupils who are required to stay at home.

It is expected that teachers will continue to be paid as normal throughout the period of ‘school closure’.

Where teachers are absent from work due to self-isolation, the NASUWT would expect no detriment to teachers’ pay. The NASUWT would also expect this to be the position for teachers in vulnerable groups and with underlying health conditions as defined in government guidance.

The NASUWT will strongly challenge any circumstances where self-isolation results in teachers losing pay.

Should schools suspend any capability or disciplinary processes?

Members who are involved in any current procedures should ensure they have contacted their caseworker to discuss their case and current position for advice.

How will these changes affect teachers’ performance appraisals and future eligibility for pay progression?

The NASUWT has raised the impact of partial school closures in England and Wales on teachers’ performance management and pay progression with the Westminster and Welsh Governments and continues to await their response.

However, the NASUWT’s expectation is that those eligible for progression will be given automatic progression at the end of the performance management/appraisal cycle. A lot of the evidence that would have been identified in the performance cycle will simply not be available.

Members should not accept any attempt by schools to rewrite their performance management objectives/targets as a result of the COVID-19 situation.

The NASUWT will challenge robustly any employer attempting to bring detriment to our members as a result of this situation.