Copmanthorpe Primary School won’t fully reopen as staff invoke Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act over covid

4 Jan 2021 @ 7.23 am
| News

Copmanthorpe Primary School says it will only open tomorrow to children of key workers and vulnerable pupils because of the rise in cases of Covid19 and the staff reaction to the issue of a safe working environment.

In a letter to parents from the head, the school apologises for the short notice.

Jenny Rogers wrote on the school website.

“I have been meeting remotely with the governors of Copmanthorpe School, following back to back meetings and communications with staff, the Local Authority and York Public Health.

Following my earlier email, I can now confirm that we will be temporarily moving to remote learning for all classes at Copmanthorpe Primary School.

This decision, made in discussion with the Governing Body, had to be made due to a majority of staff invoking Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and therefore as a consequence would not be sufficiently staffed to open fully.

We will offer in-school learning for critical worker and vulnerable children.”

All staff have a right to be safe at work, wherever they work and whatever they do.

Coronavirus does not change this.  You can read more about the law on Gov.Uk here

Today is a training day at Copmanthorpe School and staff will be using this time to prepare for remote learning.

Jenny Rogers added:

“I appreciate that this information is coming to you very close to the start of term, but I am sure you will understand that this is an ever-changing picture that we, and the Governing Body must respond to accordingly.

At the moment we are anticipating that this provision will be for two weeks,but a review will take place on Wednesday 13th January and further information will be shared with you all. If anyone has any questions regarding this email please do not hesitate to contact me”

The news comes after North Yorkshire Unison tweeted that it does not believe it is safe for school staff to return to work – except where only vulnerable and key worker children are attending.

The York branch of Unison has emailed members in the City of York council area with their latest advice too. They have also sent it to the council leader and education officers.

Read more about the row over reopening schools at YorkMix here

The National Education Union says:

“We now know that SAGE also called for all schools to be closed in January to keep the R rate below 1. This advice was issued on 22 December and ministers have done little to follow it.    

The science now tells us that, although children largely do not become ill with Covid-19, they spread it to others. To their parents, their families and into their communities.  

That is why SAGE wanted schools to close – as a way of keeping the public safe.    

If Government does not act to follow the science, we must.”