Less than half of school staff given COVID-19 health & safety training - GMB survey

16 Sep 2020
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Less than half of school support staff have received covid-19 health and safety training, a GMB back to school survey has shown. 

In the poll of more than 2,600 teaching assistants, caretakers, admin and catering staff from across England, 51% answered no to the question ‘have you had training on Covid-19 health and safety measures and working practices including infection control and correct use of PPE? 

It's as though covid never happened and they are playing Russian roulette.

Survey respondent

The survey also shows more than 66% are anxious about the return to school, with more than 60% of those who responded. Saying they had physical symptoms of the stress, like stomach cramps and not being able to sleep. 

One respondent said: 

“The measures put in place do nothing to ease my fears, having a vulnerable person in my family. I don't feel comfortable eating at school, as we eat in the classroom and I don't feel safe, so I am going all day without food. I am only sleeping 3-4 hours a night with stress, so I don't know how long I can keep going.

"I feel the Government is treating school staff as collateral damage…… There is no chance of distancing. In two days I have had an attempt to bite me and been spat at.” 

Another added: 

“It's as though covid never happened and they are playing Russian roulette.” 

Stuart Fegan National Officer said: 

“The experiences of our members show schools are being used as a political football and have been reopened before they are truly safe. 

“Basic health and safety training around COVID-19 should be a minimum for all school staff, it’s a shocking that less than only half have been provided with it. 

It's shocking that less than half of support staff have been provided training. It's no wonder our members are anxious about the return to school.

Stuart Fegan National Officer

“It’s no wonder our members are anxious about the return to school. School staff love their jobs, provide excellent care for children and are doing everything that has been asked of them. 

“But Government guidance is muddled, they don’t have enough PPE or training and the testing and tracking system is a complete mess – which is leaving our members exposed.” 

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