Teachers at 'serious risk' without new safety checks

Union boss warns that risk assessments are now out of date owing to rise in Covid-19 transmission

John Roberts

Covid and schools: Coronavirus inquiry must look into DfE response, says Patrick Roach, of the NASUWT teachers' union

A teaching union leader has called on education leaders to carry out new risk assessments of schools in light of the increased rates of Covid-19 transmission in the country.

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, has said that failing to carry out these new risk assessments would present a “serious and foreseeable risk” to teachers and pupils.

The union boss has warned that the existing checks carried out before the academic year started were done when Covid-19 transmission was at its lowest level.

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He has written to local authorities, academy trust leaders and independent school headteachers, seeking an urgent confirmation that new risk assessments will now take place.

Dr Roach said: “The NASUWT is seeking urgent confirmation from you that in light of the increased Covid-19 threat levels, you will be reviewing and updating as a matter of priority the Covid-19 risk assessments control measures for your schools in consultation with employees with the NASUWT and other trade unions.

“As you are probably aware, the employer’s obligation under the health and safety legislation is non-delegable.

“In light of the increased threat level, there is a clear requirement for all employers to review their risk assessments and mitigations, to limit the spread of the virus within schools and colleges.

"It is essential that employers do not continue to operate on the basis of outdated risk assessments that were produced when Covid-19 transmission levels were at their lowest immediately prior to full reopening at the start of the autumn term.

“This would present a serious and foreseeable risk to the health and safety of our members working in your schools, including the pupils in their care.

“As the employer, you will be well aware of your statutory responsibilities and the duties of your employees for the pupils in their care under the Children Act 1989.”

Dr Roach's letter in full

Dr Patrick Roach's letter to councils urging them to carry out new risk assessments.

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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