We round-up the latest news affecting colleges.
Older, vulnerable teachers need medical grade masks
NEU teaching union has called on the government to supply medical-grade masks to older and vulnerable staff, in line with WHO guidance. Currently, government guidance in both Scotland and England is for staff to wear face coverings in some circumstances. Government asked to explain the science on its schools masks policy
According to the
TES, Robert Halfon, the Conservative chairman of the Commons Education Select Committee, has called for the chief medical officer Chris Whitty to explain the reason behind the face masks policy change, in order to reassure parents and pupils. Colleges to receive home-testing kits and PPE
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that every college in England is set to receive 10 home testing kits and a ‘small amount’ of PPE. Colleges can request more home testing kits if required – but the DfE says they should only be "offered to individuals in the exceptional circumstance that colleges believe an individual may not be able to access a test elsewhere."
The package of PPE – provided free of charge by the Department of Health and Social Care – will include clinical face masks, aprons, gloves, visors and hand sanitiser.
£8 million programme to boost pupil and teacher wellbeing
The government has launched a new training scheme to improve wellbeing and mental health support in schools and colleges. The money will help schools and colleges in England access resources they need to support children, young people, teachers and parents. Nominated staff will receive the training through interactive webinars. Training materials will be available to all staff.
According to the press release, the Wellbeing for Education Return programme, starting in September, ‘will support staff working in schools and colleges to respond to the additional pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a direct result of the pandemic, as well as to any emotional response they or their teachers may still be experiencing from bereavement, stress, trauma or anxiety over the past months.’
Supply teachers can be furloughed during college holidays
The government has updated its
guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Its confirmed that supply teachers can be furloughed during college holiday periods, providing the usual eligibility criteria are met. Job retention bonus – eligibility requirements
The government has published a
policy paper on the Job Retention Bonus, which explains how the scheme will work. Find out more about the Job Retention Bonus. Access to Work scheme extended to help disabled people work from home or travel to work
Department for Work and Pensions has announced that disabled people can get financial support to help them work from home during the pandemic. Funding is also now available to cover taxi fares and public transport costs if health conditions prevent them from travelling on public transport. Plus, anyone considered clinically extremely vulnerable can have a new application fast-tracked. Health and Safety Executive publishes new guidance on lone working
The Health and Safety Executive has published
guidance on lone working for employers. This covers stress and other health factors, managing the health and safety risks of working alone, training, supervision and monitoring, and work-related violence. New HR1 form
The government has published an updated version of the
HR1 form employers have to use to notify the Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payment Service if they propose to make 20 or more employees redundant within a 90-day period. It’s also updated its guidance. DWP published factsheets on redundancy
The DWP has published two factsheets on redundancy. The
employee’s factsheet offers guidance on the support and information available to find a new job. The document explains where to look for jobs, how individuals can improve their skills, what benefits are available, where advice can be sought on redundancy-related issues, and where information can be found on pensions.
employer’s factsheet provides guidance on support available from the DWP’s Rapid Response Service, and details sources of useful information, such as gov.uk, Acas, trade union responsibilities, HMRC, the Insolvency Service, the Federation of Small Businesses, the British Chamber of Commerce, and others. New incentive payments for hiring an apprentice
The Education and Skills Funding Agency has published
new guidance about incentive payments employers can apply for if they take on a new apprentice between Saturday 1 August 2020 and Sunday 31 January 2021. Employers who employ an apprentice aged between 16 and 24 will receive £2,000, while those that employ apprentices aged over 25 will receive £1,500. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment for taking on an apprentice aged between 16 and 18, or one aged over 25 who has an education, health and care plan, or has been in care. Payments are made in two instalments – the first half on the apprentice’s completion of 90 days of work, and the second half after 365 days of work. HMRC extends tax free and free childcare eligibility
HMRC has announced that its extended its temporary changes to the eligibility criteria for tax-free childcare and 30-hours free childcare during coronavirus. Working parents or carers, who are eligible for tax-free childcare or 30-hours free childcare but have temporarily fallen below the minimum income requirement because of coronavirus, will continue to receive financial support until Saturday 31 October 2020. Critical workers who may exceed the income threshold for the 2020 to 2021 tax year, because of working more during coronavirus, will continue to receive support this tax year. Justice delayed is justice denied – employment tribunals at crisis point
Law Society has called on the government to take urgent action to clear the backlog of 40,000 existing employment tribunals claims to make way for the anticipated 'avalanche' of post-coronavirus claims. Hearings are regularly being listed more than 12 months into the future – and it's not uncommon to be given dates in 2022. The Law Society argues that this essentially means that many people are denied justice.
Read more – September 2020
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