Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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What the Petitions Committee is doing

Petition Pay long-term supply teachers and support staff during mandatory closures.

Should schools in the UK close we request that the UK government continue paying for long-term school staff (teachers/ support staff) on their existing working pattern, during any mandatory school closures.

More details

We need to protect the income of school agency staff to ensure they are supported during a mandatory school closure. If staff are not supported they may leave the supply teaching profession which would result in an increase in the existing shortage in education professionals.

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Government responded

This response was given on 27 May 2020

The Government has ensured that financial support is in place for supply staff on long-term contracts, and has published guidance for schools, and the school workforce, available on the Dfe website.

There is financial support in place for supply teachers, and other temporary staff who work in schools, during Covid-19.

The support available to supply staff, and who provides this support, is dependent on:
• Their employment status i.e. Whether supply staff are employed directly by schools, employed by agencies or if they are self-employed.
• Whether they were on a live assignment when schools began closing or reducing capacity
• Whether they can continue to work

Where schools are the direct employer
Where schools have live assignments with supply teachers that they directly employ, and where the school is that workers’ employer, schools should continue to pay these workers from their existing school budgets and not furlough them.

Where schools have terminated contracts with supply teachers due to coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier than the original terms set out, and where the school was the workers’ employer under that contract, schools should reinstate these contracts on the terms previously agreed, as long as the contractor is not already accessing alternative support through another government support scheme.

Where schools are not the teachers’ direct employer
Schools are advised to refer to all parts of the Procurement Policy Note 02/20 (PPN 02/20: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0220-supplier-relief-due-to-covid-19), which provides guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers for the purposes of ensuring the continuity of critical service during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Where schools have agency staff on live assignments who can continue to work, they may continue to make previously agreed payments for the supply of staff in line with the approach set out in PPN 02/20. Agencies who receive money for staff in line with this guidance should not furlough these staff , and should follow the open book accounting rules set out in PPN 02/20 to provide schools with proof that staff are continuing to be paid as normal.

Where schools have agency workers on live assignments who cannot continue to work due to coronavirus (COVID-19), schools and agencies should refer to the guidance set out in Procurement Policy Note 02/20: Contingent Workers Impacted by COVID-19.

Further details on the financial support available to supply teachers, including those working in schools on a casual basis and those who are self-employed during the covid-19 outbreak can be found in:
• Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures/guidance-for-schools-about-temporarily-closing#supply-teachers-and-other-contingent-workers

• Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children’s social care guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care#supply-teachers-and-other-contingent-workers-in-state-funded-schools

Department for Education

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At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

Other parliamentary business

Petitions Committee questions Government on its response to coronavirus

Last week the Petitions Committee put some of the most popular questions from the public about coronavirus to the Government Minister for Schools, the Minister for Disabled People and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. These included:

  • How long will schools be closed for and what will the impact be on exams and grades?
  • What financial support will be available for the self-employed?
  • What financial support will be offered to people who are unable to pay their rent or bills due to self-isolation or loss of work?
  • What support will be offered to the events, creative and hospitality industries now that pubs, clubs and cultural venues have been closed?
  • What clear, practical steps can people take to make sure they are following Government guidance on social distancing, household isolation and self-isolation?
  • Who is being tested and why, and will tests be made freely available to everyone?
  • What is the Government doing to ensure that everyone is getting the right information?

Watch the session on YouTube: https://youtu.be/aPLXJcZEfi8

Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/written-evidence/

Because of the large number of petitions that we continue to receive on coronavirus we have sent more questions to the Government to answer.

Read our letters to different Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/publications/3/correspondence/

Some of the questions we’ve asked include:

  • When will testing capacity will be increased; who will testing be available for and will it be free?
  • What is being done to tackle the spread of disinformation?
  • How quickly will support for self-employed people be made available?
  • What will happen to the school year? Will summer holidays be cancelled so that children can catch up?
  • How are foodbanks being supported to continue operating during the outbreak?
  • What is being done to address panic buying and prevent price hikes of key items?
  • Will trains, buses and flights continue to operate? For how long?

We’ll email you again to let you know when we get a response to these questions, and to let you know about any more action the Committee takes.

Who are we?

We are the House of Commons Petitions Committee. We are a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on petition.parliament.uk. We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us and our work on our website.

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions.

Further information

You can read impartial House of Commons Library information about coronavirus here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

You can find out more about coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and others here:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

You can read NHS tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips

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