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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case GB-2020-13/1119 – measures in United Kingdom

Teaching unions' coronavirus online information hubs

Teaching Unions' Coronavirus Hubs

Country United Kingdom , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 25 March 2020
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Well-being of workers
Author Claire Evans (Warwick University) and Eurofound
Case created 14 September 2020 (updated 04 October 2020)

Background information

The two main teaching unions in the UK - the National Education Union (NEU) and the NASUWT, The Teachers' Union - have been very active in campaigning on school safety, and concomitantly, in the provision of advice and guidance for members, during the coronavirus crisis. This has been deemed necessary due to hub schools being kept open for the children of key workers during lockdown and subsequently, in the face of government insistence that schools re-opened at the beginning of September. The unions have been greatly concerned about staff safety and have campaigned vociferously to government about such issues. The NEU compiled a National Education Recovery Plan and wrote again to the PM on the 11 September, in order to voice concerns as to rising cases and how staff and pupils should be protected.

Moreover, both have established coronavirus hubs, in order to provide a mass of information and advice to teachers on a wide range of salient issues. NASUWT has also established a Coronavirus Help Desk.

Content of measure

Both unions have provided Coronavirus Hubs, which provides a mass of information and guidance to members and union reps on a wide range of issues. From NASUWT, their comprehensive guide include

  • arrangements for remote teaching, learning and support;
  • mental health advice for teachers working from home;
  • advice on social security benefits available during the pandemic;
  • guidance on how to access the union's benevolent fund; income and social security coverage for supply teachers.

The NEU, in its dedicated portal, has provided specific guidance to different occupations (from principals to special needs teachers). The NEU, together with other unions, has issued guidance to its workplace representatives, as well as a manual to members, and is negotiating in every school to ensure safety, student numbers, distancing, hygiene and cleaning.

In both cases, the materials are publicly available on the respective unions' websites; thus, the advice is open to all. There is no evaluation data on how many members/teachers have accessed the materials and no data on cost.

Use of measure

No evaluation data available. It would be difficult to measure as activities listed refer to campaigning, lobbying of government and the provision of advice and guidance to members.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Workers in essential services
Does not apply to businesses Children (minors)
Parents

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Trade unions
Trade union

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative No involvement
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Only trade unions
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level

Involvement

The initiatives described are those of two teaching unions; thus, they are solely responsible for the design and implementation of the advice and guidance issued to their members and their workplace representatives. Both unions have also campaigned around staff and pupil safety. They have devised recovery plans and checklists, written to government and highlighted issues in the media. They have influenced government strategy to some extent; however, this has not been done through institutionalised settings with consultation requested by government.

Views and reactions

It can be assumed that the teaching unions' initiatives, concerned as they are with staff and pupil safety, would have broad support from other social partner organisations.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      P - Education P85 Education
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Teaching professionals
      Cleaners and helpers

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Teaching unions' coronavirus online information hubs, case GB-2020-13/1119 (measures in United Kingdom), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.