22 Feb Latest update from NPS
Testing for supply staff
The Minister for Education has confirmed that all school staff will be able to access routine testing if they are working in an education setting. This includes staff who may not necessarily be based in one usual setting, including supply staff. Tests should only be used by staff who have an active booking and we should advise that tests are not the ‘enabler’ to allow staff to enter the premises. The purpose of testing is to find and isolate cases within the community. Further information on the testing is available at the following link: https://gov.wales/routine-testing-education-and-childcare-staff-html. The Test-Track-Trace Team within Welsh Government will be in touch shortly with further information for all framework agencies, to help clarify how tests can be accessed for agency staff.
Long term contracts/cancelled contracts
We are aware of the difficulties this term of some contracts not being honoured by schools or local authorities as a result of the Cabinet Office guidance not being renewed.
Ultimately, the guidance was not extended and individual government departments were asked to consider their own individual approaches. The WG discussed the issues with the WLGA and asked them to ask local authorities to follow the principles of the previous procurement notice, to ensure that contracts were not cancelled due to school closures. As before, the guidance is not mandatory, however, the guidance has issued to local authorities, and is also available on the WG website: https://gov.wales/school-staff-and-their-employment-coronavirus#section-38819
Supply arrangements and covid-19
The WG Operational Guidance maintains that schools can still use supply cover but asks that schools consider their arrangements carefully. This may include pre-booking staff for a set number of hours (cluster arrangements) or booking longer term assignments. We are aware that some agencies have put in place measures to reduce numbers of different staff going into different schools, and this is appreciated Where possible, agencies should try to make arrangements with schools to ensure consistency in staff cover.
Any questions or queries, please get in touch with Emily or Lucy
Many thanks for your hard work and patience through these strange times!