UPDATE 30 MARCH 2020
Things are continuing to change rapidly and we commend you all for adapting to the circumstances in such a professional manner.
The following information may provide some clarification on issues to the fore at the moment.
On 27th March, wider education sector staff received a call from the Minister for Education to volunteer in schools in the coming weeks. It is envisaged that, as the crisis deepens, more frontline health workers will be required and therefore more children will need places in schools. Staff already in schools will then need more support.
Guidance was issued with the letter as to how this will work and an application form was also included. We would encourage you to read the guidance; we have issued this to all members for information.
The document assumes that all permanent teaching and non-teaching staff who do not fall into any of the categories previously listed in updates will be available to work on a rota basis either in their own school or as part of a cluster.
The call for volunteers has gone to other workers within education to support the school staff when necessary. All volunteers will be AccessNI checked.
Teachers both permanent and NISTR registered will be prioritised for work before volunteers are used. NISTR will be in contact with substitute teachers to ascertain availability.
Schools should not be seeking their own volunteers from within the community.
If you need any clarification of the guidance, please contact UTU at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of these volunteers may be used for any children needing care during the Easter holidays. It must be stressed that for existing school staff working during the Easter holidays is on a voluntary basis.
DE will be seeking information from schools to ascertain what, if anything, has already been planned for the holiday period in order to put the appropriate systems in place.
Places for key workers
A further letter was sent to schools by the Minister on 30th March. This letter recognised the work being carried out to support families at this time. It also informed schools that information will be made available on DE website about which schools/clusters are open to accommodate the children of key workers.
Parents must access schools other than their own through EA and not through the school directly.
Each school will have an assigned EA Support Officer to assist them on the way forward.
Further information will be provided by DE tomorrow.
We have had many enquiries about the arrangements to support those substitute teachers who did not have bookings made for the remainder of the school year.
We have engaged with DE and the employing authorities on a regular basis to stress the need for these arrangements to be put in place.
DE has confirmed today that much work has been carried out in this area and they hope to have details very soon.
We will keep you updated as a matter of priority.
UTU will continue to address issues as they arise. We are in regular contact with DE and the employing authorities and we value the feedback we receive from you, the members, working on the ground.
Contact us on email@example.com with any queries or concerns and an Official will come back to you as soon as possible.