School accused of ‘bullying’ staff by making them travel in during lockdown
- Credit: Archant
A secondary school in Newbury Park been accused of putting the lives of its teachers at risk by demanding they travel in during the national lockdown.
Teachers, and other educational staff, at Oaks Park High School have been told they must still go in to deliver online lessons for pupils, rather than teaching remotely from home.
The National Education Union (NEU), which represents 3,000 school workers in Redbridge, described the move as “bullying” and has accused Redbridge Council of putting lives at risk.
Glenn Kelly, NEU regional officer, said: “Our members across the borough are teaching in person key worker and vulnerable children, they are delivering online teaching to thousands of children.
“Why is this school making staff take a risk just to deliver an online lesson when most teachers across the county are being allowed to do this from the safety of their homes?
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“This is nothing other than bullying and it is a scandal that a Labour council is backing such measures.”
Staff have been told they must come in, even if they are pregnant or disabled, or face being disciplined, the NEU claims.
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A member of staff, who asked to remain anonymous, said teachers and other staff are feeling "anxious" and are "scared of repercussions".
It is also understood a member of staff tested positive for Covid at Oaks Park High School on Monday.
“Other staff who were in the same office have been told they must still come to work as they have not been in close contact,” they added. “Even though they have been identified as close contact in their phone app.”
A spokesperson for Redbridge Council said its “position has been misunderstood”.
He said: “Our council does not support a blanket policy of all school staff working on school sites, in place of working remotely, and it is our understanding that this is not the current policy of any school in Redbridge.
“[We] will continue to support the in-person teaching of the children of key workers and vulnerable children, where schools have completed risk assessments and put in place measures to make it safe to do so.”
Vulnerable staff, including those who are pregnant and in their third trimester, should work remotely, he added.