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The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union is deeply concerned around some aspects of the Department for Education, Sport and Culture’s (DESC) response to the current COVID-19 crisis.

The Union has written to Tynwald members over the Department’s unacceptable action over supply teachers’ pay, the lack of PPE for teachers in special/SEN units and the failure to halt redundancy plans.

Ms Chris Keates, Acting General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The DESC has indicated it will not pay supply teachers beyond 14 days, even where they had pre-booked assignments that have been cancelled due to the virus. This is likely to cause severe hardship to supply teachers, who are absolutely vital to the effective operation of the education service in normal times. It is simply unfair for them to be abandoned by their employer.

“Additionally, the NASUWT is also deeply concerned that the DESC is continuing to identify primary teachers for redundancy, despite the fact that the Department simply cannot have any idea of what staffing levels will be when schools reopen. This flies in the face of legislation on redundancy which requires proper consultation and is causing unnecessary anxiety at an already difficult time.

“The current crisis has also shone a light on unacceptable practices at the SEN/special units in schools. Due to the nature of needs of the pupils in these units, social distancing is impossible and teachers are routinely exposed to bodily fluids, yet adequate PPE has never been provided, putting these teachers and other staff at risk.

“The NASUWT is disappointed that the DESC has not responded positively to our calls for these issues to be rectified, and the Union will be writing to all Tynwald members. The Union hopes the DESC will reflect on its position and amend its approach accordingly.”    

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