Camden National Education Union.

Covid-19 FAQs, 1st June.

posted 1 Jun 2020, 01:02 by Gerald Clark

This briefing answers some of the most frequently asked questions from NEU members – for full details of our advice and to download the checklist please visit - if you have any concerns talk to your NEU Rep or contact your local office.

1.         Who should remain at home?

The NEU believes that the following staff should remain at home:

·         those who have developed Covid-19 symptoms - a consistent cough or fever or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

·         those who are in either of the vulnerable groups identified by the government

·         those who live with, or care for someone, in either of the vulnerable groups identified by the government

2.         What about Black staff?

There is strong evidence that Covid-19 has a disproportionate impact on Black people. The NEU believes that Black staff who feel that they may be at risk should be allowed to work from home.

3.         What should I do if I think I should not be in school?

You should refer to the NEU guidance and discuss this with your head. The NEU guidance includes model letters for you to use, if you think you may be vulnerable and should continue working from home.

4.         Can all staff be expected to attend school?

Heads should establish a list of available staff and use this to plan arrangements for reopening to more children. It is not reasonable to expect all staff to be in school for INSET or any other purpose. Government guidelines contain strict measures for contact and social distancing between staff. Contact must be kept to a minimum, therefore staffing should be kept at the minimum to meet the needs of those children attending school.

5.         I am pregnant – can my school start maternity leave early?

If you are sick with Covid-19 or have symptoms the school cannot start your maternity leave early. If you are shielding because you are pregnant, and you are within four weeks of the due date, then the school may do this.

6.  My head has asked me to take unpaid leave

If you are unable to attend work you should tell your head that you are available to work from home – you should not agree to take unpaid leave and should contact the local NEU office. All staff should continue to be paid in the normal way.

7.         I work part-time – can my head change my days or make me full-time?

Your head cannot change your contract or working days without your agreement.

8.         Should teachers or teaching assistants be cleaning classrooms?

No. All areas of the school will need thorough cleaning every day, but this should be done by specialist cleaners, not by teachers or TAs.

There is a full set of guidance, including checklists and model letters on the NEU website

Coronavirus community support groups.

posted 23 Apr 2020, 01:31 by Gerald Clark

 Supporting civil society organisations Civil society plays a crucial role in supporting London's communities and the work of charities, faith organisations, un-constituted groups and volunteers must be protected during this period of uncertainty. Below, we have provided information on available resources to support civil society through the coronavirus outbreak.


·      If you are a volunteer looking for ways to safely support London's communities during the coronavirus outbreak, please visit HERE      

·      London groups to contact about safe and/or remote volunteering opportunities or community support solutions HERE

·      Regional groups to contact about safe and/or remote volunteering opportunities or community support solutions HERE


·      Find Your Local Group - There are now thousands of local groups across the country. Below is an up-to-date list to help you find your nearest one – HERE

Working from Home

posted 19 Mar 2020, 05:21 by Gerald Clark   [ updated 20 Mar 2020, 05:32 ]

Home Working

It isn’t as easy for Teachers to work from home as other professions.  Many of you will already have been putting together distance learning or online learning projects for the children you teach to complete at home over the next couple of weeks.

What can you be asked to do or not to do?

You are still expected to be available for work during this time.  You may be asked to come in to school at times to teach or supervise key worker children, or to mark and prepare further work. 

You cannot be asked to work outside your normal Directed Time which includes the two week Easter holiday which is scheduled to run in Camden from Saturday 4th April – Sunday 19th April.  The government does not have powers to over-ride your contract.

You can be asked if you would be willing to, but as your contract currently stands, you should expect to be paid extra.

If you are looking after or supervising your own children at home then you should let your management know that you are not necessarily available for that whole period.  If you become genuinely ill, or are looking after a sick dependent then you should notify your management in the normal way that you are not available for work for these reasons.  You may be moved to be paid on sick pay or sick dependency leave although if this is due to the Coronavirus you should make sure your management know.

Obviously you cannot come in to work if you’re self-isolating as recommended by Public Health England and you should inform your management in the normal way if you’re not available for work for these reasons.

But I can still be asked to come in to work?

You can, technically, as long as there is no enforced ‘lockdown’ in place or travel bans, unless you fall into any of the categories above.  

If your school is asking you to do something at odds with the above advice, then please contact us.  If this happens before schools close to pupils on Friday then have a Union meeting in your school to agree this advice.

Can I do anything else to help?

One of our members volunteers for Age UK.  Camden Age UK need help with things like sorting and delivering food.  They can be contacted on 020 7239 0400 or 

Latest Advice for Camden members on COVID-19

posted 17 Mar 2020, 04:13 by Gerald Clark   [ updated 19 Mar 2020, 05:24 ]

Please find our advice for members, published on 17th March, here.  The updated version is below.  Please contact us if you have specific questions or speak to your school rep about the situation in your school.

This was updated on Thursday 19th March at 12:30pm

The situation with Coronavirus is changing rapidly and so is the advice from government, medical experts and other bodies including the NEU and other unions. The NEU has published advice and guidance on the website and this will be updated as when necessary.

NEU Joint General Secretaries, Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted, wrote to the Prime Minister on Saturday to ask for his rational for not closing schools.  When schools are closed in many other parts of the world, including Ireland and Scotland, why are they not here?  After receiving no response, they wrote again to him on 17th March. On the 18th March, the government confirmed that schools would be closed from Friday.

The purpose of this briefing is to provide Reps and members with some guidance on some questions we have been asked and matters that should be discussed in school.

Some of these things may be happening in your school already, but we suggest that you call a meeting and seek reassurances from your headteacher. 

  • SELF-ISOLATION: Government advice is that anyone who lives on their own who develops a persistent dry cough or fever should self-isolate for a period of seven days before returning to their normal routine (as long as their symptoms have cleared up).  If they live with others then everyone else who lives in the same house should self-isolate for 14 days from the first day of the ill person's symptoms  After 14 days if no-one is showing any symptoms they should all go back to their normal routine. Where this happens it should not be treated as sickness absence and the member of staff should continue to receive full pay. You do not need a GP certificate to cover this period of isolation. Staff who are self-isolating, may be asked to do work at home if possible.
  • CORONAVIRUS: Where a member of staff does contract Coronavirus their absence should be recorded as sickness. However, their absence for this reason should not be counted as part of the trigger for sickness monitoring or review meetings.
  • PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS: We advise that colleagues with pre-existing medical conditions seek advice from their GP and if advised to stay off work this should be confirmed in writing.
  • RISK ASSESSMENTS: We advise that schools should carry out risk assessments for vulnerable staff including those with disabilities, staff who are pregnant or who are immunocompromised (such as anyone undergoing treatment for cancer, HIV+ etc).
  • AGENCY STAFF: The NEU has issued advice for agency staff who are unable to work. We believe that staff who are on long-term placement with a school should continue to be paid.
  • DIRECTED TIME: We advise Reps to ask heads for a review of Directed Time activities such as parents meetings, school trips. Are these absolutely necessary? Can they be organised in another way?
  • LEAVE OF ABSENCE: We believe that the current arrangements for taking time off to care for a sick dependent should be relaxed to take account of the current crisis.
  • EXAMS: Exam boards are monitoring the situation and preparing for contingencies should there be long-term school closures. Ofqual have already produced initial guidance and the NEU will engage with exam authorities through this process.
  • COVER: Cover policies should not be changed in the light of this crisis. NEU does not support doubling up of classes and where this is being suggested you should contact us for advice.
  • HYGIENE: we think there should be a review of cleaning routines, particularly in respect of handles and swtiches. All toilet and washing facilities should contain sufficient soap and water to allow users to wash their hands, which can help eliminate or reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

 Working from Home

Citizens have been advised to work from home where possible.  Clearly its not straightforward for teachers to work from home, but if schools are closed then teachers can probably work remotely planning and setting work.  Any possibility for doing so should be explored in your workplace.

The Impact in your school.

Every school in Camden has slightly different circumstances.  Some have many staff out and many students out, some are functioning fairly normally.  If you’re being asked to cover and don’t think you should, or being asked to teach abnormally large classes, then please let your school rep know.

We at Camden NEU will be keeping in touch with our Reps to help advise them on the way forward in your school.  It’s difficult for us to answer individual questions.

This situation is changing rapidly and we will attempt to keep you updated with current advice. Please do not hesitate to contact the NEU if you need any advice or guidance.

Free Financial Advice Event! Jan 21st 2020.

posted 20 Nov 2019, 04:45 by Andrew Dyer

This free, specially-organised event for Camden NEU members is designed to provide you with expert financial advice.

Lighthouse Financial Solutions Group is an official partner of the NEU. In this seminar, an expert adviser will address financial issues including household budgeting, building a savings base, and planning for the future. They will also be able to explain changes to teachers’ pension provisions and how working practices may affect you. After all, in the current economic climate it makes sense to have your finances in order.

Anyone who attends will be offered a further 1-to-1 consultation totally free.

Click here to book your place at the event.

Camden NEU's submission to the Camden Youth Taskforce on Knife-Crime

posted 15 Oct 2019, 07:48 by Gerald Clark

We were invited to make a submission to the Camden Youth Taskforce on Knife-Crime in 2017.  Below is our submission which is re-produced here to make clear our position.

Welcome to Camden - Pub Quiz.

posted 25 Sep 2019, 04:30 by Andrew Dyer   [ updated 2 Oct 2019, 02:36 ]

Thank you to all of those who made it down to the quiz last night at the Camden Draft House.  We had members from Brecknock Primary, Camden School for Girls, La Sainte Union, Haverstock, and Gospel Oak Primary.

We hope to organise more social events throughout the year and would love to meet more members there.

Subscribe to the Camden NEU calendar for all the latest events by clicking here.

Happy New (School) Year!

posted 11 Sep 2019, 06:59 by Andrew Dyer

We hope that you all had a great summer holiday and are looking forward to the new year.

Our first General Meeting is being held next week, Tuesday 17th Sept, between 5:00-6:30, at the Crowndale Centre in Mornington Crescent.

We would like to encourage as many reps and members to attend as possible as we will be discussing our priorities for the year.  These are outlined in the agenda below.

Looking forward to seeing you all there. 

Primary Assessment Indicative Ballot - Voting Now Open

posted 6 Jun 2019, 07:10 by Megan Quinn   [ updated 7 Jun 2019, 03:48 ]

By now you should have received your ballot paper with a unique voting link that you can use to vote in our indicative ballot on high-stakes testing. If you would like someone from Camden NEU to come in for a meeting to discuss this campaign with members please get in touch.

Make sure you vote. The indicative ballot is open until Tuesday 2nd July 2019.

You can find out more and download resources here.

Parent Funding Letter to MP

posted 3 May 2019, 03:12 by Megan Quinn   [ updated 3 May 2019, 03:22 ]

Here is a template funding letter which can be downloaded by Camden parents and emailed or posted to Keir Starmer or Tulip Sadiq. Please make parents aware of this letter at funding events which are held in Camden schools. 

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