The following items have been raised for discussion by the Union representatives:
· Process for local lockdown in Bracknell Forest
· Return to work Summer term 2020 : Contractual issues
· Long term plan from Sept 2020 onwards
· Financial support for Schools
In advance of the meeting a number of questions were raised by the Union representatives and were answered by Paul Young, HR Business Partner - People & Schools as set out below:
• Return to work Summer term 2020: Contractual issues
Graham Jackson asked for a run down of what was occurring for the return to work since half term and then September. The HR Business Partner confirmed that contractually schools had been operating as normal with no contractual changes or reduction in school staff numbers. He noted that longer term there may be an impact due to the financial impact of Covid-19 but there had been no ongoing issue. Advice provided to schools following discussions with union colleagues re. arrangements that should be in place for September. Following further guidance from central government the Council was expecting almost all of the workforce to be returning to duty at the start of September.
• Long term plan from Sept 2020 onwards
This question had been submitted a few weeks ago but Graham Jackson was interested to see how updated guidance was being applied by Bracknell Forest. The HR Business Partner responded that updated guidance had been circulated at the end of the previous week and schools were making their preparations for all pupils to return to all settings in September and there was an expectation that all staff would be returning to deliver support and teaching. Expectation for operations to continue and schools to be operating.
• Financial support for Schools
The Schools Forum was considering the overall position in relation to the financial implications for schools. Graham Jackson asked in particular what the impact was on schools of increased cleaning and how that additional cost was being managed. Schools have the opportunity to request additional funds to cover additional costs during lockdown and civd-19 period, there are restrictions, finance colleagues are working with schools to support them in making those submissions for the funds. A further report was going to the Schools Forum encourage to submit bids for funds – three areas covered.
• Test and trace
Greg Wilson stated that SAGE had said that schools should not reopen until Test and Trace can reach 80% of those who had received a positive test. Last week only 74% were being traced. He asked the Committees’ thoughts about what decisions should be made if SAGE is not working at 80% plus in September.
In response the HR Business Partner explained that the Council had consistently been following the Central Government and Department for Education guidance and this was that schools should reopen from September. Further guidance on Outbreak Control Plan was being provided to schools and training for Headteachers was being delivered the following week. This guidance would be shared with union colleagues.
• Process for local lockdown in Bracknell Forest
Outbreak Control Plan was now in place and would be fully operation from the following week with training being provided to Head teachers.
• Extra funding to local authority regarding long term sickness or death in service
Greg Wilson enquired whether additional funding was being provided to support the long-term impacts or death in service. Reports had recently indicated a long-term impact on health. The HR Business Partner replied that no confirmation had been received about additional funding. Deaths of staff would be reported to Department for Education.
• Compulsory attendance at schools
Graham Jackson enquired how Bracknell Forest was going to manage the issue of enforcing compulsory attendance at schools. The HR Business Partner advised that the issue did not fall within the remit of the Education Employment Sub Committee but could be followed up in another forum.