Teachers, together with workers in the NHS, social care and other frontline services are helping to to defeat the Coronavirus pandemic and keep the public safe, NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach has told members.
He said that since taking up his post at the height of the pandemic in April he has been reminded of the “incredible commitment of our members, lay activists and staff who have worked tirelessly throughout this crisis.”
Speaking to teachers at the NASUWT’s Annual Young Teachers’ Consultation Conference, Dr Roach said the emergency had highlighted how young workers were being impacted.
He said: “The impact of coronavirus has shone a light on the multiple areas of inequality and disadvantage experienced by young workers.
“The Coronavirus emergency has also highlighted how it is young workers, including our members, workers on the frontline who have kept the country going throughout the pandemic.
“And, it is our members, together with workers in our NHS, social care and other frontline services who are helping to defeat this pandemic and keep the public safe.”
Dr Roach said workload demands had increased “massively” since the start of the year, with many young teachers saying they were experiencing workload that was unsutainable and this was impacting on mental health and wellbeing.
He told them: “Whether you are working on site in school, or working remotely, your mental health matters.
“And, we know that your workload, the support you receive from senior managers, and wehether you feel that it is posdsible to maintain a work/life balance can all make a difference to your wellbeing.
“And we know how important it is to address that issue and to give you strategies to manage these pressures or to challenge school-level practices which are not only unsustainable but also unsafe.”
The crisis had led to thousands of teachers having to deal with demands to deliver live-streaming of lessons, and remote education, when often they hadn’t been provided with the equipment to do their job and privacy rights were not considered.
“This can affect not only your wellbeing but you’re your ability to do your job effectively and to the best of your ability,” he said.
But Dr Roach said being part of the NASUWT meant that when working together members could “strive to bring about change that will make a positive difference” to working conditions, which in turn would help to improve the learning conditions of pupils.
He said that when the Government closed tens of thousands of schools and abandon exams in the Spring, teachers responded to the “unpredictable and unimaginable circumstances”
“You rose to the challenge,” he said. “Keeping children safe. “Providing education when you were locked out of your schools.
"Delivering for young people when government failed to do so.
“It is teachers like you who this year made the difference for children and young people.”