Vulnerable teacher confusion is ‘outrageous’, say heads

No new lockdown rules on clinically vulnerable teachers during lockdown another example of ‘chaos and confusion’ says NAHT
7th January 2021, 12:42pm
Amy Gibbons

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Vulnerable teacher confusion is ‘outrageous’, say heads

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/vulnerable-teacher-confusion-outrageous-say-heads
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The government's failure to issue new advice for clinically extremely vulnerable teachers in light of the third national lockdown has been condemned as "outrageous" by headteachers, who warn that schools are "stuck with outdated guidance".

The Department for Education's blanket guidance for schools was last updated on 30 December, with advice for the most vulnerable staff still referring to the now defunct four-tiered system.

According to the guidance, all clinically vulnerable staff outside of Tier 4 areas can continue to go into school and all clinically vulnerable staff - including pregnant teachers - can attend school in all locations.


Previous guidance: Extremely vulnerable Tier 4 teachers told to stay home

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It includes the caveat that "the national lockdown changes what you can do from 5 January 2021" and "this guidance will be updated shortly to provide further details on those changes".

But no such changes have yet been made, two days after the new lockdown came into force.

Asked by Tes when the guidance will be updated, the Department for Education was unable to specify a time. However, the department did say the updates will be made shortly.

The NAHT school leaders' union said the government's failure to provide clarity for schools was "outrageous" - reflecting an "utter failure to plan properly".

James Bowen, NAHT's director of policy, told Tes: "It is outrageous that schools are stuck with outdated guidance on something so important and vital to health and safety as this. 

"It is just another example of the confusion and chaos caused by last-minute government announcements and their utter failure to plan properly."

The general government guidance on the third national lockdown states: "If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work."

But this is not reflected in the blanket guidance for schools.

Meanwhile, some teachers are reporting that staff at their school have been told they are expected to deliver remote learning on site.

In a poll posted on Twitter, history teacher and Tes columnist Tom Rogers asked: "What is your remote teaching expectation in your school?"

In response, 15.8 per cent of teachers said they must work from school.

A further 21.9 per cent said they must teach from home, but the majority (58.4 per cent) said it was their choice.

I'm interested in the landscape here, what is your remote teaching expectation in your school?

- Tom Rogers (@RogersHistory) January 5, 2021

The DfE has been approached for comment.

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