Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1162/33563

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 January 2022

Covid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

  (Click to enlarge)

Sheila Caffrey, NEU national executive member (personal capacity)

Last year's government announcement of 'Covid-secure' schools, appeared to be based on the belief that the virus marched up to school gates and then slunk away again. Now it is running rampant and unchecked through many schools, causing unprecedented staff absence - a real issue for safety and workload.

Permanent and supply teaching staff, support, admin and site staff are all facing shortages, on top of an already existing teacher shortage and cuts to support staff. All aspects of school life are being hit: teaching in classes, site safety, lunches, play duties and support for pupils with Special Educational Needs.

The workload piled onto existing staff to cover for colleagues is increasing the burden on already snowed-under staff, leading to stress and burnout. What happens next? Further staff absences - but for longer. And growing statistics of education workers leaving their jobs because of the strain.

The Department for Education and the government were on to it straight away, releasing 'helpful' guidance during the Christmas break, suggesting classes be combined in halls with one teacher and 100s of students, and re-recruiting armies of retired teachers to cover! Both suggestions are so far from reality, it'd be laughable if it wasn't so serious.

100 students and one member of staff teaching not only means that pupils aren't properly taught, or those with additional needs are ignored, but the health and safety ramifications are clear. Little ventilation in an icy, draughty hall where humans are packed in like sardines will lead to germs and viruses being bounced around like a Mexican wave.

As for bringing back retired teachers... Many will have retired early due to the pressures and strain of the job - deciding it just wasn't worth the impact on their own health and families. Others, due to age or medical background, will be more susceptible to the virus and therefore at greater risk of harm or becoming ill.

Safety measures

Socialist Party members working in education have fought in our unions since the beginning of the pandemic to raise what is needed, and for the unions nationally to back up school union groups taking action over unsafe workplaces.

We have raised the need for: 'Nightingale' schools and classrooms to ensure adequate space and social distancing; CO2 monitors and ventilation units for every classroom, with union-agreed policies of when classes need to be moved; adequate heating and ventilation in every room; testing and isolation procedures to be followed; buffer periods after holidays and rotas that include staggered learning if transmission rates get too high.

And, of course, action to tackle stress and high workloads. We need smaller classes, less paperwork, less monitoring from school leaders and Ofsted or Estyn.

All of these things need to be fought for to win a safe and healthy education system that students and staff deserve.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 12 January 2022:


News

Super-rich get richer, while we can't make ends meet. Join the fightback!

Blow to establishment as jury backs Colston Four

Covid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

Tories concede under cladding pressure but don't go far enough

Low pay, stress and Covid drive: NHS staff crisis

Shameless Johnson partied through lockdown

Energy price crisis: nationalise energy giants to save us from £600 hit

Energy bosses: 'Jump, cuddle and eat porridge while we raise prices'


Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan: Working-class revolt only suppressed by massive mobilisation of troops

Solidarity with workers protesting in Kazakhstan


Campaigns news

Protests against BBC transphobia

Leeds People's Budget: We beat council cuts before, we will again

Communities fight back against Rio Tinto mine

North London NHS - "It's going to be us who saves it"

Southampton student vote for online exams must be accepted


Workplace news

Coventry bin workers' pay strike

10,000 tube workers vote to strike over jobs, terms and pension cuts

East Mids rail conductors force concessions, train managers' dispute continues

Carmarthenshire gritters take action as Plaid-led council reneges on agreement

Jobcentre Coronavirus outbreak leads to reps meeting call

South Yorkshire bus strikes spreading and getting stronger

Weetabix workers defeat 'fire and rehire' and ballot on improved pay offer

Invergordon Royal Mail mutiny wins


Reviews

Don't Look Up: An entertaining satire on corporate power and the US establishment

Anne: Hillsborough and the fight for justice

Money Heist: A Robin Hood tale set in modern-day capitalism


Readers' opinion

War criminal Tony Blair knighted

Bullying weighing room culture at the races

Free prescriptions? Maybe when you're older


Obituaries

Obituary - Pauline Wall

Obituary - Ethan Bradley 1993-2021


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 January 2022   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Education:

triangleFighting fees and marketisation after 2 March student walkout

triangleTories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

triangle"If we don't fight, we won't win!"

triangleNEU strike at girls' school chain over pensions

triangleWhy I'm going to Socialist Students conference

Covid:

triangleJohnson scraps Covid safety measures

triangleCovid: Fight for full sick pay

triangleUK Covid-19 mortality similar to Spanish Flu

triangleSocial care providers put profit before residents' needs - nationalise care now

Stress:

triangleLow pay, stress and Covid drive: NHS staff crisis

triangleGCSE grading game stresses out students - even more than before!

triangleTeacher recruitment falls by a third - cut workload, not funding

School:

triangleSchool students strike in Austria

triangleOaks Park School: valiant strike exposed state of schools

Schools:

trianglePerfect storm brewing in education

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

23/2/22

Workers

The Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

23/2/22

Birmingham

Vote Nellist for a workers' MP in Erdington

23/2/22

Unite

Unite and fight for a decent pay rise

23/2/22

NHS

Privatisation and crisis in the NHS

23/2/22

Covid

Johnson scraps Covid safety measures

23/2/22

Britain

Tories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

23/2/22

Bus

Bus services under threat

16/2/22

PCS

PCS Elections 2022: Time for new union leadership

16/2/22

Britain

Britain's economic growth figures mask fragile false recovery

16/2/22

Covid

Covid: Fight for full sick pay

16/2/22

Coventry

'Labour by name - Tory by policy'

16/2/22

Taxes

Tory stealth taxes burden 'packhorse generation'

16/2/22

Labour

Left Labour MPs under pressure over Erdington

16/2/22

London

Neither Washington, London nor Moscow

16/2/22

Police

Met police boss ousted

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999