Can I be made to return to teaching on site if I have an underlying health condition?
The DfE states that staff who are classed as Clinically Vulnerable should work from home where possible. Where an individual is required to be in the workplace the school should discuss this and hear your concerns. A written record of the discussion should be kept. A risk assessment to address your needs should be put in place.
It may be that the school feel that they are unable to support working from home arrangements for particular roles or individuals. If this is the case, you should ask for the reasons why, and a copy of all documentation supporting their case for why they are unable to support working from home.
Schools have the discretion to place staff who feel that the risk to them is unacceptable on Authorised Paid Leave, if no other arrangement can be made. This should not be treated as sick leave.
My school are expecting me to teach a full timetable online, I don’t feel confident with the technology that I’m being asked to use to deliver remote learning, and I’m feeling overwhelmed do I have to do it?
It is not unreasonable for teachers, if they are asked, to provide where there are facilities to do so work for pupils to do during the closure or provide remote/or online learning support. However, schools should not be imposing increased workload burdens on teachers for them to produce this work.
Teachers of practical subjects may find it particularly difficult to set work as it may well require the production of a whole new set of resources for independent study, with limited materials and equipment in a home setting. Preparing these materials is workload intensive, particularly for practical subjects where there are fewer resources readily available in textbooks and online. This should be taken into account when remote provision is being planned.
Whilst technology such as video conferencing may be part of remote learning proposals, not all pupils or teachers will have the facilities to at home to work in this way. There is no requirement for members to be set up or have the expertise to offer remote tuition.
It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that staff have the necessary resources and support to be able to work remotely. They are responsible for the health, safety and safeguarding or those employees who are now working from home.
NSEAD reminds employers that there should not be an automatic assumption that staff have the resources or skills to support online learning. Anything over and above normal duties, e.g. preparing home packs, is voluntary in nature and teachers cannot be instructed to prepare these without agreement and without time being identified to do so.
My line manager has asked me to track which students are accessing our online resources and to contact parents if they aren’t doing the work. Should I be doing this?
There are no circumstances where it is appropriate for teachers to be making direct contact with students at home, whether to support home learning or otherwise. Contact with parents really comes under the policy set by your school, under normal circumstances. However, we do not feel that it is appropriate for staff to be making multiple communications with parents at a time when families are feeling overwhelmed by the demands of home-schooling, and the impact of restrictions on their families.
It is up to school management to co-ordinate communications with parents so that there is one clear communique from the school, and it is for the school to make sure that parents understand what to expect.
We are also clear that is neither possible, nor desirable to try to replicate curriculum coverage, contact time, assessment and feedback as normal.
I’m working from home - but so are my children! I’m really struggling to take care of them and manage the timetable I’ve been given, what can I do?
We would expect employers to consider staff circumstances on a case by case basis and to negotiate with them accordingly.
Teachers with caring responsibilities may not have access to alternative childcare due to forced closure of other facilities. We hope that schools and colleges will support their staff and negotiate a reduced or flexible workload.