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									                                                 Bulletin of Leeds NUT
                                                 Office 0113 230 4385
                                                  Fax. 0113 2747663
                                                Email: leedsnut@btconnect.com
                                                      www.leedsnut.co.uk
                                                 Editor: Patrick Murphy
Special Edition                                           Date: April 20th 2010


            ABSENCES DUE TO VOLCANIC ASH
As we return from the Easter break schools      classes of absent colleagues. Cover
are coping with the effects of a particularly   includes the splitting of classes in primary
bizarre natural phenomena- the ash clouds       schools. It is important in this case to be
caused by an Icelandic volcano. Indications     aware of exactly what that new provision
on the first day back were that large           says.
numbers of teachers, including Heads and
other leaders, are stranded abroad with no      ‘teachers should be required to cover
clear indication of when they are likely to     only rarely, and only in circumstances
return. This has already given rise to a        that are not foreseeable’.
number of queries to the NUT office and this    (STPCD 2009 Section 2 72.9.2).
special bulletin summarises the advice we
have been giving on two specific issues.        At the start of this term we immediately
                                                picked up reports of schools with up to 15
1. PAY                                          teachers absent and a significant number
At the time of writing we have had no           with an absent Head teacher. Many schools
indication of any school which intends to       have had to start the term dealing with a
deduct pay. We also have had no indication      much higher level of absences than normal.
that Education Leeds would issue advice
supporting such action. What we have had        Clearly this situation is not normal and could
is some anxiety from stranded members           not have been foreseen. It is possible in
about the risk of losing salary.                some circumstances that teachers will have
                                                been asked to cover to help deal with that
We would not expect any deduction of pay        situation. Our advice on cover on that
in the case of teachers who have been           situation is as follows:
absent from work due to this problem. The
closure of all air space over the UK is               The first port of call should always be
something members who have been                        to attempt to engage supply staff.
stranded could not possibly have planned
for. Also those members will have incurred            While the absences caused by this
substantial additional costs as a result of            emergency could not have been
this problem with no guarantee that they can           foreseen, the fact that they may
recoup this loss.                                      continue to be a problem beyond the
                                                       first few days is foreseeable.
Cases where pay is withheld may be
challengeable as unlawful deduction of                After 2-3 days of these absences it
salary.                                                would no longer be reasonable to
                                                       require existing teachers with
COVER FOR ABSENCES.                                    timetabled classes in the school to
As most members will know a new provision              cover classes.
was made in our conditions of service from
                                                      No cover at any point should be
September 2009 to ensure that teachers
                                                       provided by teachers during their
can only rarely be required to cover the
                                                       designated PPA time.

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