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The majority (58%) of teachers across Northern Ireland do not feel prepared to return to their school or college as it reopens to all pupils, a survey by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has found.  

An overwhelming number of teachers (89%) feel stressed and anxious about returning to their school, with the majority (77%) of teachers responding to the NASUWT survey also stating they don’t feel, or they are not sure, it is safe for pupils to return to their school.

Nearly half (46%) of teachers have little or no confidence that their school or college will be as safe as possible when they return.
The NASUWT survey found nearly two thirds (61%) of teachers have not been consulted on risk assessments undertaken in their school or college.

There is also a lack of clarity of around provision of PPE equipment; for example, a third (31%) of teachers do not know if their school has adequate supplies and provision of hot water and soap and a further 19% say there is not enough.  

NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said:

“Teachers need to be given the same level of protection as employees in any other workplaces.

“Our survey has further strengthened our understanding of the anxieties teachers are feeling as they return to school. This only stands to be heightened when not enough teachers have been given assurances that even basic hygiene measures, such as soap and hot water, will be available in sufficient quantities.

“This is very concerning and must be addressed immediately.

“The DE and school employers have a duty to listen to and address teachers safety concerns and take urgent action to ensure that schools reopen safely this term.” 

Justin McCamphill, NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland, said:

“The fact that 77% of teachers told us they don’t feel their school is safe for pupils to return is very concerning.

“Teachers and school leaders have worked hard to prepare their schools for young people to return, yet 61% of teachers have not been consulted on risk assessments undertaken in their school or college.

“Ministers and school employers must do more to reassure the school workforce, parents and pupils that everything possible is being done to minimise viral spread, and that robust procedures are in place should any outbreaks occur.”

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