HR Support

Coronavirus Updates for Education HR Teams

We have replicated the guidance and advice issued for schools on this page. We have also included some specific questions and answers relating to schools.

Please note that during the Covid-19 Crisis, given the importance of sharing updates, information and learning, SEE has taken the decision to make our COVID-19 resource pages available to all councils in the region.

 

Questions & Answers

Will schools need to remain open on Bank Holidays and during the traditional school closure periods to continue to provide a service for critical workers? Can we ask teachers to continue to work?
  • Last  Reviewed: 29 April 2020
  • Published: 26 March 2020

 Upcoming relevant dates: Friday 8th May, May Half Term.

As with the Easter School and Bank Holidays, schools will be expected to remain open in their repurposed format. Schools will need to determine the level of staffing that they will require based on the expected level of attendance and staff will be expected to be flexible and work where they are requested to do so. Schools may opt to seek volunteers to work or may be working on a rota basis

Those teachers who work would need to be provided with an alternative day off where they would not be expected to provide any education provision either in school or remotely. For support staff who work, the Green Book does provide for an enhanced rate of pay for working on a Bank Holiday as well as a day off in lieu at a later date (Part 3, Para 2.6(d)).

DfE have issued guidance on a range of areas relating to schools remaining open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This guidance includes a brief comment on the need for schools to remain open on 8th May. This guidance is updated regularly and guidance around school closure periods will be published as each period approaches.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures/guidance-for-schools-about-temporarily-closing

Please be aware that some Trade Unions are indicating that Teachers should not be asked to work on Bank Holidays. Careful consideration must be given to the impact on critical workers and the services they deliver.

Can teachers be asked to work at a different school if their school is not open?
  • Last Reviewed: 29 April 2020
  • Published: 27 March 2020

Once schools have assessed their demand and capacity, any schools experiencing high demand should liaise with their local authority to establish whether any pupils or teachers need to be moved to an alternative setting.

Any schools which are unable to stay open should liaise with their local authority about teachers providing support elsewhere.

School Staff’s existing DBS check will normally be sufficient to enable them to work temporarily at an alternative site.

Teachers and other school staff should continue to be paid by their school as normal, wherever they are working.

Can breakfast or after school club staff be furloughed?
  • Last Reviewed: 29 April 2020
  • Published: 2 April 2020

While Public Sector organisation can access the furlough provisions, the Government has issued clear guidance that it does not expect Public Sector Employers to make use of these provisions where they are continuing to receive their normal public funding to cover salary costs.

However, if schools can clearly evidence that their breakfast or after school provisions are funded wholly or mainly from the income generated, with little or no recourse to public funds, then the staff employed to provide thse provisions can be furloughed. If the staff are on Green Book terms and conditions, you should continue to pay 100% of salary to furloughed employees as this will keep them in line with employees who are unable to work from home and are still being paid at full pay rates.

In some cases, those staff providing breakfast or after school club provisions will have another role within the school. For guidance on whether you can furlough them from the breakfast/after school provision part of their role, please see the Education FAQ on multiple roles.

At present we have no information about how HMRC will ensure the furlough provisions are applied correctly. However, given the expressed expectation that public sector bodies would not ordinarily make a claim under these provisions, it is likely that HMRC will closely scrutinise any applications for reimbursement from public sector employers.

Some of our staff have multiple roles within the school. Can we furlough them from one of their roles?
  • Last Reviewed: 29 April 2020
  • Published: 29 April 2020

Whether you can furlough an employee from one of their roles when they have more than one with the same employer comes down to how those roles are contracted.

If the employee has separate and distinct contracts for their different roles then furloughing from one role is possible. You will still need to provide auditable evidence that the funding for the salary is not from the public purse, and be able to demonstrate that you have considered redeploying to an alternative function and that the alternative to furloughing would be to make them redundant from that role. 

If the employee undertakes each of their roles under the same contract, then you can not furlough from part of a role. Essentially the requirement is that the employee cannot carry out any work under the contract from which they are to be furloughed. As the employee will be continuing to work in a role that is funded from the public purse and so cannot be furloughed, the employee cannot be furloughed at all. You can seek to negotiate a temporary variation to contract to reduce the pay of the employee by the amount that corresponds to the part of the role not being undertaken. However, if the employee does not agree to this variation, you will have to continue to pay full pay.

Should we continue to pay Supply Teachers even if they are currently not working for us?
  • Last Reviewed: 29 April 2020
  • Published: 29 April 2020

Where an assignment was either live or agreed at the time the school was repurposed (23 March 2020) you should honour that agreement and pay the agreed rate. If there was no end date set for the assignment, e.g. it was ongoing, then you should continue to pay for the period that it would reasonably be expected to continue for.

The DfE have issued clear guidance that where schools or local authorities had expected to use their public funding to engage directly employed casual workers or Zero Hours Contract employees and had budgeted for this, but work is no longer needed due to COVID-19, schools should continue to pay the worker in a similar way to agency workers who were not on live assignments when schools were repurposed. The Cabinet Office issued guidance on procurement notes that set out that the expected rate of pay for these workers is 80% of their typical pay (see below for how to calculate this). However, the LGA have issued advice covering the implications of the Agency Workers Directive and have stated that where an agency worker has been working for the same end user for at least 12 weeks they have acquired the right to pay parity to a permanent employee. As permanent employees should be continuing to receive full pay, even where they are not able to work, then those with 12 weeks service should also continue to be paid at full pay.

On this basis, translating this from agency to directly employed casuals and zero hours workers, where the worker has provided work throughout the 12 weeks prior to the repurposing of schools and the public funding source continues to exist, schools will need to be able to objectively justify why they have not continued to pay full pay. To not do so may result in a claim of unequal treatment under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations.

Calculating the 80% of typical pay.

Schools should calculate the 80% by conducting a retrospective review of the previous 12 weeks (or as many weeks as the contingent worker has been on assignment) to determine the average days or hours worked. This average should be used to underpin the calculation of 80% of gross pay for the worker (up to a £2,500 monthly cap to align treatment of casual direct hire workers with casual agency workers). The total amount payable should be limited to the amount the school or local authority had originally budgeted for such workers from their public funding.

Updates and Guidance

 

DofE update – 02 July 2o20

DfE have this morning published the following detailed guidance to support schools and colleges to fully reopen in September and early years and childcare providers from 20 July:

Read the DofE Statement 2 July 2020.

LGA Communication – 28 April 2020

  1. Furloughing

We have updated the LGA guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing) as more information is coming through from government departments and reflecting councils’ engagement with HMRC. HMRC’s helpline has also informed some councils that where an employee has multiple contracts with one employer, it may be possible to furlough one contract where the funding for that contract has gone, and for the employee to carry on working under the other contract(s). Also, today the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings, and not their furloughed pay rate. Full earnings will apply to Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay, Parental Bereavement Pay and Adoption Pay. The necessary Regulations have also been published.

  1. Academy Conversions

The Department for Education (DfE) has clarified to us that arrangements regarding academy conversions, which will be progressing on a case by case basis. Each conversion will be judged on its own merits, with the Department trying to balance where the benefits for schools and their communities of continuing with their individual projects, outweigh the potential challenges in doing so. We have been engaging in these discussions as part of our lobbying efforts for academy conversions to be suspended to help councils with their more immediate priorities relating to children and education during this time. If you are experiencing any difficulties please let us know via coronavirus.enquiries@local.gov.uk and we will raise with DfE.

  1. Hub guidance

It has also published guidance for local authorities and education providers on making decisions on cluster or hub models in educational settings. This refers to the grouping of schools and settings in order to offer continued provision for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

  1. Coronavirus testing

Guidance on coronavirus testing for essential workers who are self-isolatinghttps://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

  1. Managing premises

The DfE has published new guidance for schools and other educational settings on managing premises, which are partially open, during the outbreak

 

LGA Communication – 24 April 2020

Please see below 3 updates related to school workforce issues that have been recently published.

  1. The DfE has updated their School Workforce Q&A. It confirms that maintained schools must continue to adhere to the school teachers’ pay and conditions statutory guidance. This includes the requirement to ensure that all pay progression for teachers is linked to performance management. However, DfE expect schools to use their discretion and take pragmatic steps, to adapt performance management and appraisal arrangements to take account of the current circumstances. This could include basing performance on the period schools were open, adjusting, if necessary, for expected trajectory had there been no closures.
  2. list of cancelled or postponed data collections relating to children’s care and education is now available online.
  3. Update to Teacher Apprenticeship End Point Assessment

The Teacher Apprenticeship Trailblazer Group has announced that temporary alternative arrangements are being put in place for the lesson observation element of the End Point Assessment (EPA) for this Apprenticeship Standard due to the impact of COVID-19. The lesson observation element can now be awarded based on assessment of observations during the consideration of the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) award. The discussion element of the EPA is expected to go ahead as normal and these provisions only apply to apprentices whose EPA was due to take place before the end of the current academic year. You can read more here.

 

LGA Communication – 22 April 2020

  1. Guidance on financial support for education, early years and children’s social care
    The government has released some additional guidance on the financial support that is available for organisations in education, early years and children’s social care. This includes general guidance on various elements of the funding and financial support that is available as well as advice on how this might apply to various different sectors, including schools, further education and apprenticeships. You can read the guidance here.
  2. Update to Teacher Apprenticeship End Point Assessment
    The Teacher Apprenticeship Trailblazer Group has announced that temporary alternative arrangements are being put in place for the lesson observation element of the End Point Assessment (EPA) for this Apprenticeship Standard due to the impact of COVID-19. The lesson observation element can now be awarded based on assessment of observations during the consideration of the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) award. The discussion element of the EPA is expected to go ahead as normal and these provisions only apply to apprentices whose EPA was due to take place before the end of the current academic year. You can read more here.

 

DfE Communication – 20 April 2020

Monday morning and we awake to see the Government has published the following schools related guidance since the close of business on Friday. See attached announcement by SoS on Sunday including links and below a range of guidance that includes added clarity around the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in certain circumstances.

  1. Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children’s social care:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.  In particular you will be interested in added clarity around the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for furloughed workers as it applies to posts that are not primarily funded by the Government.
  2. New guidance for schools and teachers on safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19).Understand how to follow safeguarding procedures when planning remote education strategies and teaching remotely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-and-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19
  3. Coronavirus (COVID-19): SEND risk assessment guidance. Guidance for special schools, specialist colleges, local authorities and any other settings managing children and young people with complex special educational needs and disability (SEND).https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance
  4. Coronavirus (Covid-19): Getting tested:www.gov.uk/coronavirus-get-tested. This guidance outlines the types of workers that can now be tested.

 

  1. Updated guidance

Supporting vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak. Guidance for education settings and local authorities about children supported through social care, with EHC plans or identified as vulnerable by their school or local authority.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people

 

DfE Communication – 16 April 2020

An updated iteration of the DfE early years and childcare guidance has been published overnight. This guidance is for providers registered with Ofsted and childminders registered with childminder agencies for children of all ages, including:

  • nurseries and wraparound childcare
  • before and after school clubs
  • holiday clubs

The guidance sets out proposals for temporary flexibility on a small number of requirements in the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework. DfE hope these will give providers the flexibility to respond to changes in their workforce as well as fluctuations in demand while ensuring children are kept safe.  These proposals are subject to parliamentary agreement, and relate to learning and development requirements, the progress check for 2-year-olds, Paediatric First Aid courses for new entrants and qualification levels for ratio requirements.

I will let you know when the parliamentary process is complete, and DfE will issue further guidance for providers at this point, which DfE hope to be before the end of April subject to parliamentary agreement of the relevant legislation. Until then the current EYFS requirements continue to apply.

There is also new content on the Government’s position on personal protective equipment for early years staff which we’re aware is a key issue for the sector.  Please see extract below for your ease.

Do early years and childcare settings need personal protective equipment (PPE)?

The scientific advice indicates that educational staff do not require personal protective equipment. This is needed by medical and care professionals providing specific close contact care or procedures that create airborne risk, such as suctioning and physiotherapy, for anyone who has coronavirus (COVID-19) and is displaying symptoms.

See further guidance on social distancing in educational and childcare settings.

We will continue to keep you updated with relevant schools related information.

Other updates today…

  • DfE guidance: The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will impact on the ability of admission authorities (that is, local authorities, academy trusts or school governing bodies, depending on the type of school) to carry out admission appeals in the usual way. This is because appeal panels must be held in person, which would break the current restriction on gatherings of more than 2 people. There may also be problems securing sufficient independent panel members and partial school openings and closures may impact on meeting certain appeal deadlines. Read more about the school admission appeals here.
  • School funding: exceptional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) for the period March to July 2020 – Firstly you will note that this applies up to the end of the summer term (2019/20). It re-affirms that schools will continue to receive their core funding and therefore employers can continue to pay staff and meet regular financial commitments. The exceptional costs are generally in relation to additional costs for school closure periods e.g. increased cost of keeping buildings open; the cost of providing free school meals to students not attending school; and additional cleaning costs.
    In addition, the guidance sets ways in which schools are staffed during school closure periods, whilst taking into account the well-being of employees. Many schools will already be operating along these lines in terms of setting out rotas, collaborating across the system and making best use of supply budgets.
    If schools face other additional costs, they should contact the DfE directly (see email address within the guidance).
    Schools should continue to make a note of all additional costs, and in addition, they should also calculate the impact that a loss of income is having on services that are funded fully or partially by parental contribution e.g. wrap around care and catering, or through other income streams such as lettings
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings – This is an update on previously published guidance
  • Coronavirus (Covid-19): school closures

LGA Communication – 08 April 2020

A reminder that all workforce guidance issued can be found on the LGA workforce webpages here

 

LGA Communication – 07 April 2020

 

LGA Communication – 2 April 2020

 

LGA Communication – 1 April 2020

 

LGA Communication – 31 March 2020

 

LGA Communication – 26 March 2020

 

LGA Communication – 25 March 2020 – Updated Department of  Health and Social Care (DHSC) comment regarding Movement during ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions.

“More guidance is going out to police today about what they should and shouldn’t be doing so hopefully this will settle down. We have been really clear about the importance of social care. The PM mentioned it in his statement on Monday night and the SoS did at the press conference last night. But it is difficult to ensure there won’t be a few off-kilter decisions made by a few police officers across the country”

LGA Communication – 25 March 2020 – Further updates from Department for Education (DfE)

 

LGA Communication – 24 March 2020 – Department of  Health and Social Care (DHSC) response regarding Movement during ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions.

“We’ve had some queries about whether now, given there are more stringent restrictions on movement, workers will be asked to provide proof of status to allow them to move freely to and from work and on public transport. Stakeholders have referred to documentation that has been issued centrally by governments in other countries.

I wanted to let you know that this is not currently part of the plan here, although clearly it may be something that is considered in future. If asked by police the purpose for their journey those working in eg. the social care sector should simply state they are travelling to carry out work that cannot be done at home, and explain their key worker status. If employers feel that their staff would feel reassured by it, we suggest they provide a hard or electronic copy of a letter from their employer explaining their key worker status and why travel to a place of work is essential”

NJC Circular – 23 March 2020 – Coronavirus and Critical Workers

LGA Communication – 23 March 2020 – sharing key links for new and updated DFE guidance:

New GOV.UK collection page – all our GOV.UK CoV content in one place: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings

LGA Press Release – 20 March 2020 – Response to Key Worker Definition

LGA Update – 20 March 2020 – Workforce Update – Critical Workers

LGA Workforce guidance – 20 March 2020 – School closure due to COVID-19

LGA Communication – 20 March 2020 – sharing Government Information:

The LGA will be issuing further workforce guidance on school closures ASAP. In the meantime here is information from the Government on Critical Workers and Information for parents and carers.

 

LGPS Guidance – 19 March 2020 – Reemployment of Key Workers Guidance on impact of recently retired workers returning to work.

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