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Teachers' concerns "brushed aside" say union

Mike Gurney, National Education Union speaking to The Breeze

There's concerns some schools are forcing teachers to return to work even if staff don't feel it is safe for them.

On Monday roughly two thirds of Devon primaries partially reopened with reduced class sizes, one-way systems and staggered meal and break times.

The Devon branch of the National Education Union says it has heard from teaching staff whose concerns were 'brushed aside'.

Some staff cited personal underlying health concerns, others worried about vulnerable family members who might be affected.

The Breeze understands one staff member received a warning - for a previous incident - soon after raising coronavirus concerns.

Devon County Council's cabinet member for schools confirmed to The Breeze that staff who did not feel able to return to work should speak with their employers.

The National Education Union says some staff have reported feeling pressured into returning and it is causing them anxiety.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “From this week, many schools have begun welcoming children from Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 back to the classroom as part of a phased and cautious approach.  

“To prepare for this, headteachers and school staff have been doing an excellent job including putting protective measures in place and engaging with parents and children.

"We will continue to support schools who haven’t yet been able to open more widely to do so as soon as possible.”

The official Government guidance can be found here

The National Education Union advice can be here

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