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Staff in Manchester schools unhappy with measures to prevent spread of coronavirus

  • Staff at schools in the Manchester area are unhappy at work
  • They claim schools do not have facilities to adhere to social distancing 
  • Mental health concerns from staff in schools with new added pressures

Staff at Manchester schools claim they have not been provided with enough support and have branded coronavirus measures a ‘joke’. 

Teaching staff who are unhappy with the new restrictions put in place in recent weeks, like the social distancing and use of masks.

A member of the catering team at a high school in Prestwich, who wishes to remain anonymous, said her job has been much more stressful in recent weeks because there have been so many changes and nobody is sure of the rules.

She stated: “The worst bit is having to wear a mask while serving students as it’s very difficult to communicate but more than that, some kids refuse to wear masks so we are protecting them and their families but they aren’t protecting us- it’s a joke.

“The people in charge at the school aren’t handling the situation well at all.

"There seems to be a lack of clear instruction and the students do not always keep a distance from one another.”

Pressures

One catering manager from a school close to the city centre, who also wishes to remain anonymous, said that she felt like leaving her job because of the added pressures.

“Everyone in the school seems more stressed. There’s so much more work to do and not enough staff to do it," she stated.

"The headteacher can’t make up her mind on what to do – personally I don’t think she’s following the guidelines properly.”

There’s so much more work to do and not enough staff to do it

A primary teacher from a Bury school said another problem was having to have pupils facing forward as there is not enough space to do this while keeping a safe distance. 

“I really miss the children working collaboratively,” she added.

She said government and council officers should see for themselves the conditions teachers have to work under so they could see where more support could be offered to staff members.

Roger Pakeman, Unison assistant branch secretary from 

Roger Pakeman, assistant branch secretary from Unison, who deals with schools, colleges and staff in Bury, said: “I have had far more contact with members in schools.

"This has ranged from concerns about social distancing, members with long-term health conditions needing to continue shielding, catering staff worried about health and safety and now with one company facing a cut in their core hours. Generally there is a lot of worry about health and safety.”

He said most schools do not have space to adhere for social distancing and many were in a poor state of repair.

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