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Coronavirus - a few updates after another tough week

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A message from NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman to members

As we come to the end of another working week, I wanted to get in touch with you to provide a few updates. 

I am very conscious that a wide range of external sources will be inundating you with emails and advice. I hope that you are finding our communications useful; we will continue to try to keep our emails as concise as possible and only contact you when we feel there is important information to share. 

This week, we have seen new guidance published by the Department for Education (DfE) on the new Free School Meal (FSM) voucher scheme and the impact on induction for NQTs.

Today, Ofqual has also set out details for schools, colleges, students, parents and carers about what exam centres need to provide to exam boards for the awarding of GCSEs and A levels following the cancellation of this year's exams. 

We know that there are a large number of questions that remain unanswered. We have been collating all the questions our members have sent in, and we have been putting these directly to the DfE on your behalf. We will continue to update our FAQs to reflect the answers we receive. 

Currently, there are several priorities in terms of our work with the government. These include (but are certainly not limited to) the following: 

  • The need for clearer guidance on safety and practical measures that schools (particularly special schools) should be taking, including PPE and supplies of vital resources
  • The new national FSM voucher system and the issues people are facing in accessing and using this
  • Clearer guidance from the government on hubs and social distancing to support the guidance we have already published
  • Clarity around how the government's 'reimbursement' scheme will work and what it will include.

These are just a few of the current 'live' topics we are actively pursuing. Over the last fortnight, we have submitted more than 100 questions on behalf of our members. 

Please do make sure you are referring to the latest version of our FAQs. As you have seen, official guidance does change, and we are working hard to ensure our guidance reflects the most up-to-date messaging from the government. 

Finally, we know that many of you will already have had some incredibly difficult conversations with pupils, families and staff who have been affected by the coronavirus, either directly or indirectly. This week, we added some advice on that topic, which we hope you will find useful. 

I hope you have a restful weekend.

First published 03 April 2020