News School support staff

Update for UNISON education members

Inez Kirk
Inez Kirk

Branch secretary, Inez Kirk, has issued the following briefing to our members in education on behalf of the branch, providing an update on a fast moving situation.

“Discussions have continued with the council since the last update to you.

“Many uncertainties remain and all councils are awaiting decisions from the government on how school transport, catering, cleaning are going to be carried out before the real shape of the working week and how schools will operate in August.

“We are awaiting Guidance from the Scottish Government working groups on education and from CoSLA. This will shape how things progress over the coming weeks.

“So what we do know just now is that schools in Aberdeenshire will open on 10th August with 2 in service days, then children will return from Wednesday 12th August. We do not know how many children will return and in what format their education and support will take.

“You should have received communication from the council about the request to return to work early in August, rather than the 17th, and asked to complete a questionnaire.

“This questionnaire has caused many of you to raise questions about its tone and content. We raised that this week with the council and they apologised for its tone, it was designed for other purposes.

“To be clear:

  • You do not have to volunteer to work during your annual leave and the summer break, you cannot be disciplined for not doing so.
  • If you have plans for the last week of your holidays, from 10th August, you cannot be compelled to cancel those arrangements, you are free and able to continue with those plans. The council are asking you if you will start the term early, but you cannot be disciplined if you do not or can not.
  • Please don’t incur extra costs by cancelling booked holidays, your  holidays may or may not go ahead, and if cancelled by the travel company you will get your money back, but if you cancel you will most likely lose some or all of your money.

“Many of you have children and caring responsibilities of your own and we have had many questions this week about how you will work without your children being in school. Some of you have experienced that this week when told to return to work but you have no one to help with your children. The childcare hubs are now closed to new children and so you are stuck.

“At present we are saying – if you do not have childcare for your children then you continue to work from home as you have been doing. You should not take your children to the school with you.

“Please remember things are now changing all the time and we will try to keep you as up to date as possible. Please keep an eye on our Aberdeenshire UNISON webpage and Facebook page

If you are at all stuck or just need an answer to a question that is niggling you please just contact us and we will do our best to assist.

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