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NAHT Cymru

NAHT Cymru is the definitive voice of school leaders in Wales. We keep the best interests of children at the heart of everything we do.

Along with our colleagues in England and Northern Ireland, we are here to defend and extend the rights of our members, as well as provide advice, protection and support specific to school leaders throughout Wales

NAHT Cymru yw llais diffyniadol arweinwyr ysgolion yng Nghymru. Mae buddiannau gorau plant yng nghraidd popeth a wnawn.

Ynghyd â'n cydweithwyr yn Lloegr a Gogledd Iwerddon, rydym yn bodoli i warchod ac ymestyn hawliau ein haelodau, yn ogystal â darparu cyngor, diogelwch a chymorth sy'n benodol i arweinwyr ysgolion ledled Cymru.

NAHT responds to Welsh Government announcement on covid support for schools and exam students.

As the Welsh Government announces a move away from the Local Covid-19 infection control decision-making framework to a new document on Public Health Advice for Schools and Settings, NAHT Cymru Director Laura Doel says:

“Our position throughout the pandemic has been that decisions on mitigation measures in schools must be based on the medical and scientific evidence available and while the rest of Wales moves into a new phase of living with covid, we appreciate the need to adapt to a changing situation.

“But the reality for schools is that we are still seeing significant staff and learner absence as a result of covid. NAHT Cymru has just published the results of a survey of its members investigating the number of primary school staff with covid-related absences. With 1,200 primary schools alone in Wales, it is clear that these costs will quickly spiral into the tens of thousands of pounds.*

“In secondary schools and special schools, the cost is much harder to calculate given the vast numbers of staff, subject-specific teachers that are needed as well as specialist support staff.

“If this is the new normal, if this is what was expected as a result of moving into the endemic phase of covid, serious questions need to be asked about how schools are going to manage. The majority of schools in Wales will not have the insurance in place to cover short-term staff absence so supply costs will come directly out of school budgets.

“This is the very money that has been allocated to setting to support teaching and learning.  It won’t take long for schools to burn through existing funds and have to make cuts to balance budgets.

“When schools are working towards such an ambitious reform agenda, when leaders are trying to focus on new curriculum rollout, ALN changes and the upcoming exam series, schools need to focus their resources on supporting learners. There is no more fat to trim from existing budgets and NAHT Cymru fears that covid will continue to have a very real impact on the delivery of education.

“We continue to urge Local Authorities and the Welsh Government to listen to the concerns of school leaders on this and work to put in place additional support for schools who need it and not leave schools to deal with the consequences alone.  Sustaining high quality teaching to deliver learning and wellbeing recovery for all children and young people is especially vital in this next phase. A lack of funding to support a sustainable approach to staff absence is only going exacerbate existing issues, including pupil absence and wellbeing of both staff and pupils. “

In regards the support offered for students taking exams:

“NAHT Cymru agrees that supporting learners on getting through this year’s exam series is key and it is heartening to see WJEC and Qualifications Wales has listened to the concerns raised by our school leaders. Scheduling exams 10 days apart, allowing for learners who test negative earlier in the isolation period to sit exams and supporting appeals for some of the most disadvantaged students will all help, as will the Welsh Government discussions with UCAS on sharing information to support that transition into university. While we wait to see the details on appeals, we continue to urge that process is made as simple as possible and does not result in huge amounts of additional workload for schools.”

In regards to face coverings: 

“NAHT Cymru believes decisions on face coverings should not be left to school leaders.  While we appreciate school leaders will have a role to play, we maintain that covid risks in school is not the responsibility of school to determine and we continue to work with Local Authorities and health officials to support schools on this.  Leaders are the experts in teaching and learning, not managing public health and safety.”

In regards to fines for non-attendance:

“The use of fines in schools continues to be a controversial one and the jury is still out on whether fining parents actually has the desired effect on attendance.  Our position remains that schools should work with parents to find out the reasons behind continual periods of absence before making any move to fine families. Our members tell us that there is still a great deal of anxiety amongst parents and learners, exacerbated by mental health concerns.  NAHT Cymru believes the focus should be on supporting schools to find out what the issues are and bringing in those support services to address them.  Too often there are underlying concerns that go far beyond the responsibility of a school to resolve and that’s where other agencies must be brought in to help.”

ENDS

*Survey results - On average, in the twenty school day period between February 28th and March 25th, respondents told us that they had an average of 4 teachers, 6 teaching assistants and 3 other staff absent.  The average daily cost to cover a teacher is £169, teaching assistant cover costs £78, while other staff cover can be in the region of £50 per day.

 

First published 03 May 2022

Please give us your views  on the current consultations

 

Welsh Government

Independent review of school teachers pay and conditions in Wales

OPENED 18 January 2018 - CLOSES 1 March 2018

NAHT Cymru draft response of independent review

Support for doctoral study
OPENED 8 December 2017 - CLOSES 2 March 2018

The Education (Amendments Relating to Teacher Assessment Information) (Wales) Regulations 2018
OPENED 14 November 2017 – CLOSES 30 January 2018

Recent consultations

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