Covid

Teachers ‘unsupported’ as Covid outbreaks continue to blight schools

Almost half of teachers report testing positive last term, according to union survey

Almost half of teachers report testing positive last term, according to union survey

Almost three in 10 teachers say their school declared a Covid outbreak last term, and around half reported having tested positive since January.

A survey of more than 4,000 members of the NASUWT teachers’ union found that 29 per cent of members reported that their school had been forced to close or send pupils home since the beginning of the year.

But almost four in 10 teachers surveyed said they did not know whether their school had an outbreak management plan in place. Over half of those who did know said they were not consulted.

The NASUWT survey results are the latest evidence that schools continue to face widespread disruption as a result of Covid-19.

Schools Week revealed last week that year 11 pupils were still missing more than one in 10 lessons last month. The latest government attendance data showed almost one in 10 teachers were absent as of mid-March.

Of the teachers who responded to the NASUWT survey, 48 per cent said they personally had tested positive since January.

Teachers left ‘vulnerable’

It comes after the government removed almost all Covid mitigations in schools. Settings no longer have access to free Covid tests, and those who test positive are encouraged, rather than legally obliged, to stay at home.

NASUWT’s survey found three in 10 teachers had faced difficulties in accessing tests, while around 26 per cent said they had faced pressure to attend work despite having symptoms.

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT, said teachers had been “left vulnerable and unsupported since Covid-19 mitigations have been removed”.

“Without access to free tests and additional safety measures, schools will struggle to protect staff and maintain continuity of provision for pupils.

“It is vital that appropriate action is taken swiftly to ensure that schools continue to operate safely and that teachers are supported rather than bullied when they are ill.”

Almost 60 per cent of those surveyed said their school had managed the Covid-19 pandemic well.

But in terms of their wider health and safety, just 51 per cent said this was well-managed, while 28 per cent said it was not.

Teachers warn of Covid mental health ‘timebomb’

It comes as teachers gave emotional testimony to the union’s annual conference in Birmingham about the impact the pandemic has had on the mental health of teachers.

A recent survey by NASUWT found 91 per cent of teachers said their job had adversely affected their mental health, with the “rapid dependence” on remote learning a leading contributor for 72 per cent of those surveyed.

Zoe Lynch, a delegate from Wolverhampton who is clinically vulnerable and was told to shield during the first lockdown, said she was “not prepared mentally for what was to come”.

“What followed we all had different and difficult experiences of. For me it was isolation, shielding at home with my partner, no contact with my loved ones, online lessons, responding to emails, etc.”

After Christmas 2020, the government announced another lockdown and closed schools to most pupils again.

“I remember that announcement saying we’re going back into another one,” Lynch said.

“That horrible memory of me crying out loud and sobbing in my living room saying I can’t do this again.”

Kathryn Downs, from Leeds, said the government “thinks that the impacts from Covid-19 is completely gone…everyone’s back to normal in schools”.

“But as a mental health first aider I’m actually finding my workload from that is increasing. I have more and more and more staff who are coming through every day who are struggling with the impact of the things they dealt with in the pandemic.

“We need to recognise that two, three, four years down the line we are still going to be dealing with that time bomb from the mental health aspect of our teachers.”

Latest education roles from

Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA)

Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA)

Platanos College

Teacher of Boys’ PE

Teacher of Boys’ PE

Platanos College

Head of Girls’ PE

Head of Girls’ PE

Platanos College

Art Teacher

Art Teacher

Platanos College

EA to the CEO & Senior Directors

EA to the CEO & Senior Directors

Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South

Head of Faculty (History and RS)

Head of Faculty (History and RS)

Ark Greenwich Free School

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, schools and colleges can be confident that learners...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspiring Education Leaders for 10 Years

The 10th Inspiring Leadership Conference is to be held on 13 and 14 June 2024 at the ICC in...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspire creativity in your classroom. Sky Arts’ Access All Arts week is back!

Now in its third year, Access All Arts week is a nationwide celebration of creativity for primary schools (17-21...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Unleash the Power of Sport in your setting this summer! National School Sports Week is back!

Unleash the Power of Sport this summer with National School Sports Week powered by Monster Kickabout! From 17-23 June,...

SWAdvertorial

More from this theme

Covid

DfE Covid lockdown party may have gone on past 1am

Staff swiped out of Sanctuary Buildings 34 times after 10am on night of party, 8 times after 1am

Samantha Booth
Covid

Long Covid teachers join forces to sue ministers

About 85 teachers in the UK have expressed an interest in joining the action

Lucas Cumiskey
Covid

Williamson ‘considered resigning’ over ‘panic’ Jan 2021 school closures

Former ed sec tells Covid inquiry he did not have 'complete autonomy' over closure decisions, and claims his advice...

Freddie Whittaker
Covid

Covid: ‘Williamson threw schools under the bus’

Inquiry hears former education secretary opposed face masks in schools to avoid 'surrender' to unions

Amy Walker

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *