A lockdown that doesn’t include schools? This time, we can’t let them ignore us!
As Kevin Courtney rightly asked, how can a total ‘lockdown’ be effective if it doesn’t include schools? Quite rightly, staff and parents are signing petitions and emailing in their thousands to demand Johnson thinks again. But, as we’ve already seen with the “5 tests”, that isn’t likely to be enough to change his mind. This time we need to go further. This time we need to ballot for union-wide action so we stop just being ignored.
CALL UNION-WIDE ACTION – PUT THIS MOTION TO YOUR SCHOOL OR DISTRICT MEETING:
This Union Group/District agrees that:
a) The Government is putting the health of school staff and school communities in danger by insisting that schools remain fully open despite infection rates rising so quickly that Ministers themselves have decided that a ‘lockdown’ is needed.
b) The Government is ignoring clear scientific evidence showing both the effect that school closures would have on reducing the ‘R’ number, and the role of young people in spreading Covid-19, particularly in poorly-ventilated indoor spaces with a high concentration of individuals, such as classrooms.
c) The Union has been right to demand that:
i. for a lockdown to be truly effective, it must include schools;
ii. during such a lockdown, schools should again return to teaching only priority and vulnerable pupils as was done in the ‘first wave’ of the virus;
iii. to minimise ongoing safety risks, when schools are open more widely, they should operate on a rota basis instead of with full classes.
d) We encourage our members to support the Union’s campaign to call on politicians, employers and school leaders to endorse and implement these demands.
e) In order to make clear to the Government that we are no longer prepared to see our legitimate demands ignored, and to protect the health and safety of our members and our communities, the Union must ballot for industrial action.
f) We call on the Executive to call an emergency meeting to resolve that the Union launches a union-wide ballot, disaggregated by employer, to allow those branches where there is the necessary support to take co-ordinated strike action, and action short of strike action.
g) Industrial action should be taken to insist that, until such a time when the Union believes conditions are safe:
- schools are included in future lockdowns and ‘circuit-breakers’;
- schools otherwise operate on an agreed rota basis, instead of with full classes;
- all staff in higher risk groups can work from home;
- schools operate according to agreed and regularly updated risk assessments;
- school staff should be regularly tested as part of improved test-and-trace arrangements, including full isolation of ‘bubbles’, to combat school outbreaks.
- school staff, who will be working hard to support learning at home and in school, are protected against unreasonable workload demands; classroom observations, Ofsted inspections and other unnecessary supervision to cease during the pandemic;
- government provides funding for additional resources, spaces and staffing cover, as well as full pay for parents/carers who are unable to work owing to childcare;
- assessment arrangements for 2021 are adjusted in line with Union demands.