What were school staff concerned with during November?

At Edapt, we support thousands of school staff in England and Wales with employment-related queries.

As a result we have a unique window into the insights and concerns of school staff and how this changes at specific times of the year.

A new feature we are bringing you is our top 3 most clicked on support articles each month. During November 21, our 3 most popular support articles were:

1 Omicron Variant: Updated Guidance for Schools

With news about the Omicron Variant many teachers were concerned about how their roles would be impacted and if face masks would make a return to the classroom.

The Department for Education (DfE) updated its covid operational guidance for schools in England and we published an article providing an overview of the main changes.

Changes to the guidance include: 

  • Updated advice on tracing close contacts and isolation to reflect the change in measures for close contacts of suspected or confirmed omicron cases 
  • Updated advice on face coverings to reflect the change in measures – they are now recommended in communal areas in all schools for adults and for pupils from year 7 onwards 
  • Updated information in the other considerations section on vaccination of under 18 year olds
  • An updated travel and quarantine section to reflect that pupils arriving from abroad will need to isolate and test on arrival
  • An updated educational visits section to advise you consider whether to go ahead with any planned international educational visits

We also published an article on the topic of if Christmas plays could go ahead this year.

2 Can teachers refuse to be vaccinated? 

Many of our subscribers were concerned about what the impact would be on their employment if they refused to be vaccinated.

Can your school insist you are vaccinated to be able to teach? Could you be potentially dismissed from your role for refusing to take the vaccine?

The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 states that members of the public should not be compelled to undergo any mandatory medical treatment, including vaccinations. 

ACAS explains employers should be sensitive towards individual situations and must keep any concerns confidential.

3 What is gross misconduct? 

Potentially this support article is quite popular because employees are concerned that when facing an allegation, if it is classed as gross misconduct or simply misconduct. There is a difference between the two:

  • Misconduct: misconduct is when the disciplinary rules are broken. Members of staff should not be instantly dismissed for one instance of ‘misconduct.’
  • Gross misconduct: is misconduct so serious, which if substantiated, undermines the mutual trust and confidence between the employee and their employer and merits instant dismissal. In this situation, the member of staff can be summarily dismissed.

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